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Federal

Oct 9, 2012

Gillard loses a chairman, wins on single parent pensions

Caucus chairman Daryl Melham has resigned, amid rumours of further leadership tension. But the government faced down a party room revolt on welfare.

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has admitted the government faces a “fiscal challenge” in the forthcoming Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Outlook but insists it won’t detract from commitments on disability and education reform.

The statement, to caucus this morning, confirms the government faces a significant challenge from lower-than-forecast tax revenues, particularly given falling commodity prices and the International Monetary Fund’s overnight additional downgrades to world growth forecasts for this year.

Caucus chairman Daryl Melham also announced he is resigning from the post in a move being carefully scrutinised for its implications for internal Labor tensions. The resignation of Melham, said by some to be a Rudd backer who was again preselected for the seat of Banks on the weekend, takes effect at the end of the month before the start of the next scheduled caucus meeting. A replacement will be elected at the meeting on October 30.

Melham’s explanation to colleagues, provided during the course of an historical account of the role, was that eight years in the role was sufficient and that he had undertaken it far longer than previous chairs. However, Rudd supporters within caucus are blaming his departure on the management style of the government executive. It’s a complaint loaded with significance given one of the single strongest criticisms of the Rudd government was over the then-PM’s abysmal relations with caucus.

The government leadership also faced down a revolt on single parent pensions, with more than 20 MPs debating at length a proposal from Senator Doug Cameron and MP Janelle Saffin to defer the controversial cut until after a Senate committee inquiry had reported. The “wide-ranging” debate also covered off the adequacy of the Newstart allowance, a caucus spokesman reported. The Cameron-Saffin motion was defeated, with debate participants said to be evenly split

The PM also reiterated the government’s “long game strategy” to implement controversial reforms early so they would be in place by mid-term in order to given people “a lived experience” of major reforms like carbon pricing and the minerals resource rent tax.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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30 comments

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30 thoughts on “Gillard loses a chairman, wins on single parent pensions

  1. Jimmy

    Patriot – That issue is far from about to blow – it is has been dealt with and is dead as far as the PM goes.

    Just because a few of your right wing mates keep trying to dredge it up on blogs doesn’t make it an issue – look at the PM’s press conference about the issue if you don’t beli eve me.

  2. Filth Dimension

    @ Patriot I read that article also. Despite the heading saying the PM still had questions to answer I couldn’t find a single question mark in the entire article.

  3. pritu

    Mr Keane, if this is the kind of lopsided commentary that Crikey is peddling, why bother to subscribe. We can see the same kind of crap on the Murdoch/Fairfax/ABC headlines.

  4. Bob the builder

    Any chance of some actual information about the proposed reforms or are we just stuck with more tea-leaf reading about internal political posturing?

  5. Suzanne Blake

    Bernard

    Gillard lost everything yesterday by supporting the s_xist remarks of Slipper. She lost the ability to attack. She backed a loser, who resigned anyway.

    It was nothing about women, its all about her survival and numbers. Thats all exposed now.

  6. Patriot

    In The Age, of all places:

    Property links PM to stolen funds.

    “THE disgraced former boyfriend of Prime Minister Julia Gillard took a leading role in the purchase with stolen union funds of a Fitzroy unit bought in the name of a union crony, new documents reveal.

    The documents also confirm that Ms Gillard intensely managed legal work on the 1993 transaction – without advising her senior partners at law firm Slater & Gordon of the involvement of boyfriend Bruce Wilson.”

    This issue has been percolating away on various blogs while you lefties have had your heads in the sand. Looks like it’s about to blow.

  7. Patriot

    What if I call another guy a girlіe-man. Misogyny or misandry?

  8. geomac62

    Patrat
    Emma is a good interviewer regardless of who she interviews .
    Regarding Tanya I would wonder if your attracted to or imagine trannies when you see a good looking woman . Maybe neither of your labels fit your comment about Tanya and we need another one , have no idea what though .
    If I say mirabella has lips that look like a side view of an abalone is that insulting or a reflection of my dislike for the member for Indi ? I tried to find Slipper and Ashby texts , two weird dudes for sure . Is ignorant botch the offending remark regarding Sophie ? The other stuff regarding women or at least the few snippets I saw were out of bounds but ignorant botch ? Those texts between each other should ensure the harassment case goes nowhere , two very weird people .

  9. Patriot

    If I say that Tanya Plibersek looks like a man is that misogyny or misandry?

  10. Patriot

    Emma Alberici tearing strips off Tanya Plibersek. Never thought I’d see that. Reeoooow!

  11. geomac62

    Birds of a feather wizz , birds of a feather .
    BTW Have these texts been made public as in to the general public ? I,ve heard that they are repugnant but have no desire to peruse them . Of course texts go both ways so I assume Ashby joined in . Pair of rogues both of them , hard to tell which one is lower . Jones , Ashby , Slipper , Bernardi , Andrews , Mirabella , what ever happened to standards ?

  12. GeeWizz

    Geomac… and today… the 9th of October 2012, every single one of the Labor side, including Oakeshott, Windsor and Bandt voted in support of this man and his comments despite knowing full well what he had said in text messages.

    Even Slippery himself thought it was untenable for him to stay speaker… but not the Labor Party… not the PM… not her stooges Oakeshotte, Windsor and Bandt.

    This is a day of shame for Labor. Yet another Labor c0ck-up and they let it drag on for 6 months. Why are they so utterly and completely incompetent and useless at politics? It’s like the party is run by 6 year olds

  13. geomac62

    ” Well we spotted the REAL REAL Julia today. ”
    I would expect the PM to engage in robust debate with the opposition . I,m glad that the PM showed emotion and spirit in putting Abbott back in his box for paraphrasing Jones vile insult . In the context of the last week Abbotts crass words cannot be construed as anything but deliberate . Crass words from a very crass individual .

  14. geomac62

    9 times the coalition ( libs and nats ) selected Slipper to represent them in a seat . 1984 to 2010 , 26 years or more of his service . Birds of a feather comes to mind .

  15. GeeWizz

    Well we spotted the REAL REAL Julia today.

    A vile, nasty, individual blaming anyone but herself for her failures

  16. Patriot

    Hysterical stuff from Roxon and Plibersek over Abbotts alleged misogyny, now not a peep regarding Slippery Pete’s comments. Good on them for washing the sand out of their clams and getting over it.

  17. GeeWizz

    Oh this is gold… Slipper resigns, but not before Labor gives him and his comments 100% their vote of support.

    Are Labor run by a bunch of complete political light weights?

  18. Suzanne Blake

    @shepherdmarilyn

    Your kidding, I thought you would have been all over what he said. Its was NOT ‘nothing much at all”

  19. shepherdmarilyn

    WEll he resigned with grace, all over nothing much at all.

  20. Filth Dimension

    Geewizz indeed ^

  21. GeeWizz

    It’s now on the public record that Labor, Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Adam Bandt are now responsible for Peter Slipper remaining as Speaker.

    Anything that happens from now on these people will have to take responsibility for Peter Slippers actions.

  22. GeeWizz

    One of the Labor supporters in here was asking me to point out where Gillard had ever claimed to be the victim of s_xism.

    Todays Parliament hansard, check it out. Abbott said this government was dying of shame…. Gillard shrieked S3XISM!

  23. shepherdmarilyn

    The fact is the government are going to waste $5 billion over the forward estimates to break the law, shove refugees into malaria infested hell holes without due process and punish Australian children to save $700 million over the same period.

  24. Jimmy

    SB – “I just wonder if we are now seeing the start of a pre Christmas leadership battle?” Is this the same pre Christmas leadership battle you tipped last year? Or the one that was supposed to happen back in May? Or when in Feb Gillard was supposed to be rolled? Saying it repeatedly doesn’t make it true.

    Turnbull on the other hand has been making some very interesting moves in the last few weeks, including his speech last night. The Libs would of been able to prosecute their case against Slipper much better if Turnbull was leader,if there is going to be a leadership move it will be on the libs side.

    “ALPers defending Slipper and attacking, guess who, Abbott again” And don’t tell me after all your abuse of Gillard you are offended by the “attacks” on Abbott?

  25. Suzanne Blake

    Oh dear Fredex, you criticise Bernard every time he writes something that put the ALP back in its box.

    Laughable.

    I just wonder if we are now seeing the start of a pre Christmas leadership battle? Fortunately I have time today to watch Parliament and the charade of ALPers defending Slipper and attacking, guess who, Abbott again

  26. Jimmy

    Zut – The little I have heard of it she seems to have had the best of it today, Abbott went for the throat but left himself wide open, especially when he mentioned “died of shame” but his record isn’t great on the issue.

  27. zut alors

    Question Time is all about personalities today and not one shred of policy. Melham has argued against removing the Speaker before the court finishes its process.

    Gillard was on her feet and on her mettle. Impressive.

  28. Jimmy

    Filth – The one metnionof policy moving single parents on to newstart – has been getting a big run in the HS as hurting the poor single mums (you know the ones they normally think are welfare cheats)but it deliberately neglects to mention it doesn’t kick in until the youngest child is 8, well above primary school age.

  29. Filth Dimension

    Wow. The amount words spoken and written by so called journalists about anything and everything except the policies that will shape this country is astonishing. The disservice to this country is not from the government or the opposition its from lazy political writers more suited to the writing for HS sports section.

  30. fredex

    Another anti-ALP anti-Gillard beatup Bernard?
    I went to your recent offerings in the archives and could not find an article that directly and fully addresses the various splits within the Liberal party and between the Liberals and the Nationals over a variety of issues eg fracking, supertrawler and most significantly and of current interest the wheat regulation issue.
    All of which are of more substance than the mere ‘rumours’ you cite in this article.
    I suppose you and/or Crikey must have addressed the personality and ideological differences within the COALition recently but I can’t find an article whose headline indicates major treatment of such.
    It would be nice to see a featured article, or three, on the ‘challenges facing the COALition which throws in words and phrases such as ‘admitted, ‘insists’,’rumours’, ‘challenge’, ‘carefully scrutinised’, ‘faced down a revolt’ [yikes -an actual revolt hey, sorta like the 17 or so WA Libs threatening to vote against the eastern Libs], ‘contraversial’ and so on used willy-nilly.

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