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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…]


Apathy And Anger: John Faulkner On Our Modern Democracy

The ALP’s former leader in the Senate, John Faulkner, says Australian democracy is “drowning in distrust”.

Arguing that politics requires commitment, patience, and a sense of proportion, Faulkner criticised Mark Latham’s for young people to reject organised politics.

Faulkner said: “Unless we have mature and realistic expectations of the possibilities of politics and the capacity of politicians, we cannot as a society understand or resolve the real problems within the political system. If our analysis is as shallow as Mark Latham’s complaints that people were mean to him, our solutions will be as self-defeating as his decision to take his bat and ball and go home.” [Read more…]


John Faulkner Launches “Loner”, New Book On Mark Latham

This is the text of a speech by Senator John Faulkner at the launch of Bernard Lagan’s book, “Loner”.

LonerThe book deals with Mark Latham’s leadership of the ALP, the 2004 federal election campaign and Latham’s departure from the leadership in January this year.

Faulkner has been a senator since 1989. He was a minister in the Keating government and a shadow minister until he stood down after last year’s election.

Faulkner argues that the ALP must learn the lessons of the 2004 election defeat but “it would be a very great shame if the only lesson Labor learned was to always play it safe”.

Faulkner says Lagan’s book “shows that Mark’s fatal flaw was not recklessness, not the risks that he took – in a way, it was the risks he refused to take.”

Of Latham, Faulkner says: “He was a loner, as the title of the book suggests. He would not take the chance of trusting those around him, and that hurt him, and Labor, badly. Mark played his cards close to his chest. He wouldn’t take even those staff and colleagues who should have been close to him into his confidence. To do so was a risk worth taking, and it should have been taken.” [Read more…]


John Faulkner: Balancing Government Effectiveness With Oversight And Scrutiny

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a wide-ranging speech on Senate reform to The Sydney Institute.

Faulkner, the ALP Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, said the Senate had evolved into an effective house of review but the task now was to ensure that governments can carry out their electoral promises whilst maintaining oversight and scrutiny.

Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s Address to the Sydney Institute on Senate Reform.

FaulknerLadies and Gentlemen, in June this year the Prime Minister announced his Government’s intention to reform the “deadlock provisions of the Constitution in section 57.”[1]

For Mr Howard constitutional reform is a newfound interest. For Labor, constitutional reform is a long held conviction, reforms not solely about the moment, reforms not solely about advantaging the Government in power. Unlike John Howard and the Liberal Party, Labor has been committed to restricting the powers of the Senate since Federation. [Read more…]


Bill Heffernan’s Disgraceful Speech Under Parliamentary Privilege

Mar 12 – John Howard’s confidante and Liberal Party eyes and ears, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet, Senator Bill Heffernan, made a disgraceful speech to the Senate last night, alleging that High Court Justice Michael Kirby is “not fit and proper to sit in judgment of people charged with sex offences against children”.

Heffernan only named Michael Kirby as the final two words in a speech which alleged that a judge has “indiscreetly, improperly and illegally used Comcar” and “trawled for rough trade at the Darlinghurst Wall”. [Read more…]