The good electoral news for Labor — and the bad. First the good. Headlines like this in The Courier-Mail will be doing the federal Coalition considerable harm.

Harsh state budget measures by an LNP administration provide a fertile background for Labor claims that indiscriminate and hurtful cost-cutting is planned by the Abbott-Hockey team if they win in September.

And while people do not seem to be noticing good news, the OECD finding that Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being does Labor no harm either.

And so to the bad news. It is one of the unfair aspects of politics that when a government and an opposition join in doing something the public does not like — be it shouting at each other in Parliament or putting up their salaries — it is the government that gets most of the blame. Don’t ask me why but it just is. And so it will prove with the current scramble to provide extra millions to existing political parties and independent MPs. Labor will attract most of the odium.

A crowded ballot paper? As of this morning there are 11 new political parties seeking registration to be added to the Australian Electoral Commission’s existing list of 37. The  potential newcomers are: Australian Sovereignty Party, Australian Voice Party, Drug Law Reform Australia, Future Party, Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens), Palmer United Party, The 23 Million, Uniting Australia Party, Wikileaks Party, Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Nick Xenophon Group. Get ready for a complicated Senate count in September …

Get it done on Monday. A British study of inpatient admissions for elective operating room procedures has found that there is a higher risk of death for patients who have surgery carried out later in the working week and at the weekend, rather than at the start of the week.

An article published in the British Medical Journal overnight concludes:

“Our analysis confirms our overall study hypothesis (with some heterogeneity) of a ‘weekday effect’ on mortality for patients undergoing elective surgery — that is, a worse outcome in terms of 30 day mortality for patients who have procedures carried out closer to the end of the week and at the weekend itself. The reasons behind this remain unknown, but we know that serious complications are more likely to occur within the first 48 hours after an operation, and a failure to rescue the patient could be due to well-known issues relating to reduced and/or locum staffing (expressed as number and level of experience) and poorer availability of services over a weekend.”

A little blind doggy helper. We turn to the Klamath Falls Herald and News in the US for the story of Xander, the pug pup without eyes, working to make people happier as a therapy dog.

Xander’s owners are not sure how he lost his sight before they took him home from the Klamath Animal Shelter in January; only that there was an accident and the eyes had to be removed. When they decided to adopt, Rodney and Marcie Beedy knew he would be a perfect therapy dog because of his attitude: how calm and outgoing he was he was. Now he is helping children who have been abused by being their buddy, visiting nursing homes, or helping get out anti-violence messages.

News and views noted along the way.

Peter Fray

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey.

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

For a limited time only, choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%