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John Faulkner
John Faulkner Jan 2010.jpg
Father of the Australian Senate
In office
1 July 2014 – 6 February 2015
Preceded byRon Boswell
Succeeded byIan Macdonald
Minister for Defence
In office
9 June 2009 – 13 September 2010
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byJoel Fitzgibbon
Succeeded byStephen Smith
Vice-President of the Executive Council
In office
3 December 2007 – 13 September 2010
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byNick Minchin
Succeeded byRobert McClelland
National President of the Labor Party
In office
10 January 2007 – 27 February 2008
Preceded byWarren Mundine
Succeeded byMike Rann
Special Minister of State
In office
3 December 2007 – 9 June 2009
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Preceded byGary Nairn
Succeeded byJoe Ludwig
Minister for the Environment
In office
25 March 1994 – 11 March 1996
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byGraham Richardson
Succeeded byRobert Hill
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byGordon Bilney
Succeeded byGary Punch
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byBen Humphreys
Succeeded byCon Sciacca
Senator for New South Wales
In office
4 April 1989 – 6 February 2015
Preceded byArthur Gietzelt
Succeeded byJenny McAllister
Personal details
Born (1954-04-12) 12 April 1954 (age 67)
Leeton, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Alma materMacquarie University
WebsiteOfficial website

John Philip Faulkner (born 12 April 1954) is an Australian former Labor Party politician who was a Senator for New South Wales from 1989 to 2015. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Keating, Rudd and Gillard Governments.

After his election to the Senate in 1989, Prime Minister Paul Keating appointed Faulkner as Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel in 1993. In 1994, Faulkner was moved to the position of Minister for the Environment, which he held until Labor's defeat in 1996. He later served as the Leader of the Labor Party in the Senate from 1996 to 2005, and returned to Cabinet upon Labor's election in 2007, after Kevin Rudd made him Vice-President of the Executive Council and Special Minister of State. He later served as Minister for Defence from 2009 to 2010, when he retired from frontline politics.[1] He became the Father of the Australian Senate in 2014, and retired from Parliament altogether a year later by way of resignation,[2][3] and is considered by some as an elder statesman.[4] Faulkner has since been a Member of the Board of the Global Panel Foundation – Australasia – an NGO that works global in crisis areas.[5]

Background and early career

Faulkner was born in Leeton, New South Wales on 12 April 1954, attended Pennant Hills High School, and was educated at Macquarie University, Sydney, where he graduated in Arts and Education (BA, DipEd). Before entering politics he worked as a Special Education teacher in government schools 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]

Political career

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] Faulkner became the first Labor Senate leader who did not become Government Senate leader since Don Willesee. In October 2006 John Faulkner was elected as the National President of the Australian Labor Party until February 2008 and chaired the Labor's National Conference in 2007.

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

In the First Rudd Ministry, Faulkner served as the Vice-President of the Executive Council, Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary. 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 9 June 2009, Faulkner was sworn in the Minister for Defence, replacing Joel Fitzgibbon, who had stepped down on 4 June.[8][9] He retained this portfolio in the First Gillard government until the 2010 federal election following an earlier announcement that he would step down as Defence Minister and return to the backbench.[10]

In 2014 Faulkner began a process of reforms that sought to stamp out perceived corruption and factional infighting within the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. Faulkner proposed to include rank–and–file members in decisions such as the selection of candidates for Senate and Legislative Council vacancies and party tickets, and a vote in the direct election of the New South Wales parliamentary leaders.[11] However, Faulkner's reform proposals were mostly rejected at NSW Labor's 2014 conference.[12] The direct election of party leader gained support with effect from after the 2015 election.[13]


Faulkner announced on 30 April 2014 that he would not seek re-election and would be retiring at the end of his term on 30 June 2017.[14] On 11 December 2014, however, he announced that he would be resigning from the Senate in late January or early February 2015,[15] creating a casual vacancy.[16] Faulkner resigned on 6 February 2015.[17]

Post-politics life

Faulkner has since been a Member of the Board of the Global Panel Foundation – Australasia – an NGO that works global in crisis areas.[18]

Personal life

Faulkner was formerly married to fellow Labor politician Sandra Nori and they have two children.[19]

Major published works

  • Costar, Brian; Lees, Meg; Coonan, Helen; Faulkner, John; Evans, Harry (2000). Deadlock or Democracy? The Future of the Senate. Sydney: UNSW Press. 57 pages. ISBN 0-86840-570-1.
  • Faulkner, John; Macintyre, Stuart (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


  1. ^ a b "Biography for FAULKNER, the Hon. John Philip". Parlinfo. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  2. ^ "Gillard minister to quit: Faulkner to go to backbench". The Age. 7 July 2010.
  3. ^ White, Cassie (1 September 2010). "Gillard unveils major frontbench shake-up". ABC News. Australia.
  4. ^ Grattan, Michelle (11 July 2010). "Enough is enough – it's time to name the date as election climate heats up". Brisbane Times.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "No bluff, Faulkner just resigns". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 October 2004.
  7. ^ "Liberals play spot the hypocrite on political accountability". Crikey. 11 November 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
  8. ^ "The Inheritor". Inside Story. 1 September 2009.
  9. ^ "New faces sworn into Rudd ministry". SBS World News. 9 June 2009.
  10. ^ "Faulkner to step down". The Age. 7 July 2010.
  11. ^ Bourke, Latika (8 April 2014). "John Faulkner flags rule changes to Senate selection process to stamp out corruption in Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  12. ^ Evans, Brett (29 July 2014). "The winter of Senator Faulkner's discontent". Inside Story. ISSN 1837-0497. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  13. ^ Gerathy, Sarah (26 July 2014). "NSW Labor to allow rank and file members to vote on next state leader". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  14. ^ Owens, Jared (30 April 2014). "Labor Stalwart John Faulkner to retire". The Australian. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  15. ^ John Faulkner: Statement on Retirement, 11 December 2014 Archived 6 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 January 2014
  16. ^ Emma Griffiths, ABC News, 11 December 2014. "John Faulkner: Veteran Labor senator stepping aside for 'new generation', brings retirement forward to January". Retrieved 13 January 2015
  17. ^ @AuSenate: "Senator John Faulkner has resigned his place in the Senate after more than 25 years as a Senator for NSW", 4:57pm - 6 Feb 2015.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Nori, Sandra (1953 – )". Australian Women's Archives Project. National Foundation for Australian Women & University of Melbourne. Retrieved 31 January 2010.

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ron Boswell
Father of the Australian Senate
Succeeded by
Ian Macdonald
Political offices
Preceded by
Ben Humphreys
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Succeeded by
Con Sciacca
Preceded by
Gordon Bilney
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
Succeeded by
Gary Punch
Preceded by
Graham Richardson
Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
Robert Hill
Preceded by
Gary Nairn
Special Minister of State
Succeeded by
Joe Ludwig
Preceded by
Nick Minchin
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
Robert McClelland
Preceded by
Joel Fitzgibbon
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Stephen Smith
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gareth Evans
Leader of the Labor Party in the Senate
Succeeded by
Chris Evans
Preceded by
Warren Mundine
National President of the Labor Party
Succeeded by
Mike Rann
This page was last edited on 27 June 2021, at 00:18
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