John Faulkner

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For other people named John Faulkner, see John Faulkner (disambiguation).
Senator The Honourable
John Faulkner
John Faulkner Jan 2010.jpg
Minister for Defence
In office
9 June 2009 – 13 September 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Joel Fitzgibbon
Succeeded by Stephen Smith
Vice-President of the Executive Council
In office
3 December 2007 – 13 September 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Nick Minchin
Succeeded by Robert McClelland
Special Minister of State
In office
3 December 2007 – 9 June 2009
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Gary Nairn
Succeeded by Joe Ludwig
Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories
In office
25 March 1994 – 11 March 1996
Prime Minister Paul Keating
Preceded by Graham Richardson
Succeeded by Robert Hill (Environment)
Warwick Smith (Sport, Territories and Local Government)
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime Minister Paul Keating
Preceded by Gordon Bilney
Succeeded by Gary Punch
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime Minister Paul Keating
Preceded by Ben Humphreys
Succeeded by Con Sciacca
Senator for New South Wales
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 April 1989
Preceded by Arthur Gietzelt
Personal details
Born (1954-04-12) 12 April 1954 (age 60)
Leeton, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Alma mater Macquarie University
Website Official website

John Philip Faulkner (born 12 April 1954) is an Australian politician. He has been a Labor member of the Australian Senate since 1989, representing the state of New South Wales. Following a period serving on various Senate Committees and as Deputy Whip, he was a Minister in the Keating Labor government 1993–96. Following several years in opposition as a Shadow Minister, he was appointed in 2007 as Vice-President of the Executive Council and Special Minister of State in the First Rudd Government. He was Minister for Defence from June 2009 to September 2010.[1]

He announced in July 2010 that he would return to the backbench after the 2010 election,[2] and subsequently was replaced as Defence Minister by Stephen Smith on 13 September 2010.[3]

As the longest currently-serving Labor member of the Australian Senate, Faulkner's elder statesman status is virtually unrivaled by any presently active politician within Labor circles[4] and on 1 July 2014 he became Father of the Australian Senate.

On 30 April 2014, Senator Faulkner announced that he did not intend to seek re-election, and his current Senate term will be his last.[5]

Early career[edit]

Faulkner was born in Leeton, New South Wales on 12 April 1954, and was educated at Macquarie University, Sydney, where he graduated in Arts and Education (BA, DipEd). He worked as a Special Education teacher in government schools before entering politics from 1977 to 1979. In 1980 he was employed as a Research officer to the New South Wales Minister for Sport and Recreation, Ken Booth. Gaining prominence within the ALP, he was made Assistant General Secretary of the NSW party in 1980, serving for nine years and became a member of the ALP National Executive in 1989.[1]

A leading member of the Socialist Left faction of the ALP, Faulkner was appointed to the Senate in 1989 to succeed the former left-wing minister Arthur Gietzelt, who had resigned mid-term. In the Keating Labor government, Faulkner was Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel 1993–94, and Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, with a seat in the Cabinet, 1994–96.

After the defeat of the Keating government in 1996, Faulkner became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry 1996–2004. He was at various times Shadow Minister for Social Security, Public Administration and Home Affairs. He was a key Labor strategist in the 1998, 2001 and 2004 federal elections, and was a particularly close advisor to Mark Latham during the 2004 election. In the wake of Labor's defeat in that election, he resigned his positions. [6] In October 2006 John Faulkner was elected as the National President of the Australian Labor Party until February 2008. Three people are elected to the rotating position of Party President every three years, each serving one year. Faulkner chaired the ALP's National Conference in 2007, and each of the rotating Presidents will chair the National Executive for one year.

Government minister[edit]

Faulkner with Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and former Chief of the Defence Force Peter Cosgrove in November 2009
John Faulkner (left) with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates (right)

John Faulkner was the Vice-President of the Executive Council, Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary in the First Rudd Ministry. In his role he introduced new rules for ministerial conduct and fundraising aimed at reducing the influence of lobbyists on government decisions. He also introduced new guidelines reducing the overt political control of government funded advertising.[7]

On 5 June 2009, John Faulkner was announced as the new Minister for Defence, replacing Joel Fitzgibbon, who had stepped down the previous day. He was sworn in on 9 June.[8][9] He retained this portfolio in the First Gillard Government.

On 7 July 2010 Faulkner announced that he would step down as Defence Minister and return to the backbench after the next election.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Faulkner was formerly married to fellow Labor politician Sandra Nori and they have two children.[11]

Publications[edit]

John Faulkner has authored or co-authored several books on the subject of representative government and the history of the Australian Labor Party.

  • Costar, Brian; Meg Lees, Helen Coonan, John Faulkner, Harry Evans (2000). Deadlock or Democracy? The Future of the Senate. Sydney: UNSW Press. 57 pages. ISBN 0-86840-570-1. 
  • Faulkner, John; Stuart Macintyre (2001). True believers: the story of the federal parliamentary Labor Party. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. 328 pages. ISBN 1-86508-609-6. 
  • Faulkner, John (2005). Parliamentary privilege: precedents, procedure and practice in the Australian Senate 1966–2005. Canberra: Senate Committee of Privileges. 201 pages. ISBN 0-642-71601-3. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ron Boswell
Father of the Australian Senate
2014–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Ben Humphreys
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
1993–1994
Succeeded by
Con Sciacca
Preceded by
Gordon Bilney
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
1993–1994
Succeeded by
Gary Punch
Preceded by
Graham Richardson
Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories
1994–1996
Succeeded by
Robert Hill
as Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
Warwick Smith
as Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government
Preceded by
Gary Nairn
Special Minister of State
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Joe Ludwig
Preceded by
Nick Minchin
Vice-President of the Executive Council
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Robert McClelland
Preceded by
Joel Fitzgibbon
Minister for Defence
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Stephen Smith
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gareth Evans
Leader of the Labor Party in the Senate
1996–2004
Succeeded by
Chris Evans