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.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Suzanne Blake

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


    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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

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