Senator John Faulkner
Born in Leeton in south-western New South Wales on 12 April 1954, John has lived most of his life in Sydney. He was educated in the public-school system and at Macquarie University. He was a member of the Macquarie University Council from 1984 to 1992.
Before entering politics, John worked as a specialist teacher of children with severe disabilities.
John joined the Labor Party as a teenager and has held various positions, including as a member of the NSW Administrative Committee (1978-1989), and as Assistant General Secretary of the NSW branch of the ALP (1980-1989). He has been a delegate to the NSW Annual Conference (since 1973) to the National Conference (since 1982) and was a member of the ALP National Executive from 1989 to 2009.
He was elected National President of the Australian Labor Party in February 2007, and held this position through to February 2008.
John entered the Australian Senate on 4 April 1989. He was re-elected for further six-year terms in 1993, 1998, 2004 and 2010.
In the Keating Government, John Faulkner served from March 1993 as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Science & Personnel, and Manager of Government Business in the Senate. In early 1994, he was appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories.
From 1996 to 2004, John served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. He was Shadow Minister for Social Security until 1997, and from 1998 he was Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services, and for Olympic Co-ordination and the Centenary of Federation. After the 2001 Federal Election he variously held the shadow portfolios of Special Minister of State, Public Administration and Accountability, and Home Affairs.
After the 2004 election Senator Faulkner stood down as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
On the election of the Rudd Government in November 2007, John Faulkner was appointed Special Minister of State, Cabinet Secretary and Vice-President of the Executive Council. He also served as a member of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet.
As Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State, he was responsible for freedom of information reforms, privacy law, electoral law reform, the public service, the Cabinet process, and parliamentary entitlements. He also had oversight of Federal integrity agencies, including the Australian Public Service Commission, the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, as well as the National Archives and the Museum for Democracy at Old Parliament House.
In June 2009, Senator Faulkner was appointed to the position of Minister for Defence, where his responsibilities covered defence strategic policy, our defence forces and defence capability. In July 2010, John announced his plans to step down from Cabinet following the upcoming Federal Election, and return to the backbench.