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Public Pessimism, Political Complacency: Restoring Trust, Reforming Labor – John Faulkner Speech

Senator John Faulkner has renewed his call for the ALP to reform itself, arguing that party reform is vital to tackling the public perception that politics has become a values-free competition for office and the spoils it can deliver.

FaulknerFaulkner tonight delivered the inaugural address of The Light on the Hill Society, sponsored by the Revesby Workers’ Club.

The ALP’s former Senate leader and minister in the Keating and Rudd governments, said: “The stench of corruption which has come to characterise the NSW Labor Party must be eliminated. Failing to act is not an option.” [Read more…]


Gough Whitlam At 98; John Faulkner On A Life Of Endurance, Longevity, Resilience And Extraordinary Contribution

Gough Whitlam celebrates his 98th birthday today.

Whitlam

Whitlam served as Labor Prime Minister from December 5, 1972 until his dismissal by the Governor-General on November 11, 1975. He was the nation’s 21st Prime Minister and is the longest-lived of all of them.

The ALP’s honorary historian and keeper of the party’s institutional memory, Senator John Faulkner, did not forget Whitlam’s birthday when he rose to speak in the Adjournment Debate last night. The speech followed a day of excitement in the Senate, although the drama seems pale by comparison for those of us who remember the Whitlam years. [Read more…]


ALP Senator John Faulkner To Retire At Next Election

Senator John Faulkner, a former minister in the Keating, Rudd and Gillard Labor governments, is to retire at the next federal election.

FaulknerFaulkner, long regarded as the ALP’s historian, confidant of leaders and conscience of the party, announced today that he will not nominate for Senate preselection.

The next election is most likely to be held in late 2016. Faulkner’s term expires on June 30, 2017.

Faulkner was first appointed to the Senate in 1989, following the retirement of Arthur Gietzelt. He was elected to successive terms in 1993, 1998, 2004 and 2010.

He held a variety of portfolios in the Keating government between 1993 and 1996, including Veterans’ Affairs, Defence Science and Personnel, Sport and Territories, and Environment. He was Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary in the Rudd government from 2007 until 2009, and Minister for Defence from 2009 until 2010. [Read more…]


John Faulkner Calls For Better Governance Of Parliament, Public Service And The ALP

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a wide-ranging speech on political integrity and called for reforms to the parliament, public service, political parties and election funding.

John FaulknerFaulkner spoke at a conference at the University of Melbourne. He called for finalisation of the National Anti Corruption Plan, legislation protecting public interest disclosure, the introduction of a Code of Conduct for MPs, the Commonwealth to support the Open Government Partnership, electoral funding reform and improved accountability witin political parties.

Faulkner also offered a plan to improve democracy and integrity in the ALP. He proposed that party rules be subject to the courts and that all party disputes in NSW should be taken out of the hands of bodies controlled by factions. He called for rank-and-file preselection ballots for Senate and Legislative Council positions, a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy for party members found guilty of corruption, and a Charter of Rights for members.

Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s speech to the Integrity In Government Conference at the University of Melbourne Law School.

Political Integrity: The Parliament, the Public Service, and the Parties

No-one ever argues that governments should have less integrity, that elected officials should not be accountable, or that public servants should behave unethically. Broad statements of the value of integrity, transparency, accountability and ethics gain general agreement from all sides of politics and from all participants in public debate.

But government integrity demands more than general expressions of goodwill. Enhancing transparency and accountability requires supportive structures as well as declarations of priorities. And cultivating ethical behaviour needs more than simple, sweeping statements of expectations.

Nor is integrity in government and in politics simply a declaration of the importance of individuals behaving ethically.

Of course, they should behave ethically. But, ladies and gentlemen, human nature is variable, and fallible. Individuals do, from time to time, succumb to temptation or fall into error. As the eminent thinker, French renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne said more than four hundred years ago, “There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.” [Read more…]


John Faulkner Remembers Whitlam’s 1972 “It’s Time” Policy Speech

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a speech tonight in honour of the 40th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s 1972 ‘It’s Time’ policy speech.

Senator John FaulknerFaulkner, the ALP’s unofficial historian and Whitlam confidante, spoke at Bowman Hall, Blacktown, site of the famous campaign launch that propelled Whitlam to the prime ministership.

Faulkner paid tribute to the power of political speeches: “We may be cynical about politics and politicians, we may be sceptical of the motives of those men and women who aspire to represent and to lead us – whether in Parliament, in community organisations and campaigns, or in social movements – but it is still their words which have the potential to express our aspirations, our beliefs, and our deepest sense of collective self.” [Read more…]


Malcolm Fraser’s Whitlam Oration

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has delivered the 2012 Whitlam Oration to the Whitlam Institute in Sydney.

Malcolm Fraser

Nearly thirty-seven years after the Fraser-led coalition parties blocked the Budget and Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government, Fraser remarked that in the 1970s “few people would have believed that Malcolm Fraser would be delivering a Gough Whitlam oration”. [Read more…]


The Death Of Margaret Whitlam

Margaret Whitlam died, aged 92, on March 17, 2012.

Parliamentary tributes were delivered on March 19. A memorial service was held on March 23.

Margaret Whitlam Memorial Service

 

Mar 19-20 – House of Representatives & Senate Condolence Motion Speeches

    • Julia Gillard (ALP)
    • Tony Abbott (Lib)
    • Tanya Plibersek (ALP>
    • Julie Bishop (Lib)
    • Kevin Rudd (ALP)
    • Watch Kevin Rudd
    • Malcolm Turnbull (Lib)
    • Senator John Faulker (ALP)
    • Watch John Faulkner
    • Senator Marise Payne (Lib)
    • Senator Bob Brown (Greens)
    • Josh Frydenberg (Lib)
    • Natasha Griggs (CLP)
    • Mar 23: Tony Whitlam’s eulogy for his mother
    • Mar 23 Catherine Dovey’s eulogy for her mother

June 23, 2010: Calm And Speculation Before The Storm

The challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd caught most people by surprise on June 23, 2010, but there was nevertheless plenty of speculation in the hours leading up to his dumping.

  • 8.30am – On Sky News AM Agenda, Jason Clare (ALP), Scott Morrison (Lib) and Peter Van Onselen discuss the state of Kevin Rudd’s leadership.
  • 1.55pm – Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner is asked, “as an elder statesman of the Labor Party,” whether there are any circumstances under which he would tap the Prime Minister on the shoulder before the election. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also responds.
  • 4.15pm – On Sky News PM Agenda, journalists Josh Gordon and Lenore Taylor discuss the state of the Rudd government.

Australia’s Afghanistan Commitment: John Faulkner And Stephen Smith Press Conference

Amid the mounting challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s leadership, the Defence and Foreign Ministers held a press conference on Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan.

The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, held the press conference at 1.30pm.

At the end of the press conference, Faulkner is asked, “as an elder statesman of the Labor Party,” whether there are any circumstances under which he would tap the Prime Minister on the shoulder before the election. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also responds. [Read more…]


Gough and Margaret Whitlam Awarded ALP Life Membership

Gough Whitlam, 90, and his wife, Margaret, 87, have been awarded the first-ever life memberships of the Australian Labor Party at the national level.

Gough and Margaret Whitlam at the ALP National Conference, 28-04-2007 The awards were made at the ALP National Conference in Sydney.

Addressing the conference, the former Prime Minister reminded delegates of his famous admonition of the Victorian branch in 1967 when he derided the oppositionist mentality that equated defeat with ideological purity: “Certainly the impotent are pure”.

Forty years later, the nonagenarian Whitlam told the conference, “when I was 50 I could get away with saying things like that.”

Whitlam noted that under his leadership in the 1969 elections, the ALP secured “the greatest swing on record and won 17 seats”. It would not have been lost on conference delegates that in 2007 the ALP needs to win 16 seats to secure a bare majority in the House of Representatives. [Read more…]