Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

RU Ready for RU-486

Today's RU-486 conscience vote in the Senate has been comfortably won by those in favour of taking approval for the drug out of the hands of the presiding minister (I need not remind you that this is currently one Tony Abbott) and placing it into the hands of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Despite suggestions of a close result, the vote was ultimately won on a large margin of 45 for and 28 against. Only three of the latter were reportedly female. Amongst those who spoke out against the bill today included Liberal Bill Heffernan, National Barnaby Joyce, and Labor's Stephen Conroy, who expressed fears that giving the TGA such `extra' powers (despite that they already approve thousands of drugs each year), approval for euthanasia drugs and cloning would obviously be next.

Tony Abbott employed similarly twisted logic in justifying his own opposition to the bill, suggesting firstly that the TGA is not appropriate to examine RU-486 because the drug has `no therapeutic value', and secondly, that those who supported it were undermining the ability of governments to deliver decisions which ensure they remain democratically accountable to their constituents. What rubbish. If the past decade or two has taught us anything, it's that governments are more eager than ever to place their traditional duties - providing essential services - into the hands of secondary (usually private) entities (or privatising previously public entities), weakly arguing that `they can do a much better job', then running a mile from the hint of accountability when anything goes wrong. Do the phrases `AWB' or `Cross City Tunnel' ring any bells? Is Abbott concerned that Telstra will no longer be accountable to the government once T3 goes ahead? Unlike these corporations, the TGA is certainly not a corporation looking to make a buck out of the government; it's an expert government body which functions to decide whether drugs are safe for the public to use. Simple as that.

The bill is expected to have a more difficult battle in the House of Representatives, though given the wide margin in the Senate, it will probably pass. Which will only leave Australia about ten years behind most civilised countries.


At 8:46 am, Anonymous weezil said...

The claim RU486 having 'no therapeutic value' holds as much water as moon rocks. RU486 has other medical uses outside of termination of pregnancy, but the authoritarians don't want to hear it. If a woman isn't prepared to be a parent, her psychological health and her life itself is at grave risk.

At 9:12 pm, Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Minotaur, just letting you know that your blog is keeping me up to date while I am SE Asia. Oh, and Insiders on Asia Pacific TV. Keep it coming.

At 5:20 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

Hope you're having a brilliant time over there LVD :)

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