Jun 5, 2009

Rudd turns Faulkner to Defence

Special Minister of State John Faulkner will move to the Defence portfolio to cover the resignation of Joel Fitzgibbon.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Special Minister of State John Faulkner will move to the Defence portfolio to cover the resignation of Joel Fitzgibbon, the Prime Minister announced this afternoon. Faulkner was a junior minister in the Defence portfolio in the Keating Government, and with Simon Crean is the Government’s most experienced minister. Further changes to Cabinet would be announced in coming days. However, the role of Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary, which Faulkner has filled with aplomb, appears tailor-made for Senator Mark Arbib, currently Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s portfolio overseeing service delivery and particularly the stimulus package rollout. Faulkner may be the one minister whose integrity and experience are such that he will be impervious to the leaking and undermining that appear a core part of life at the top of the Defence Department. Faulkner also has sway within Cabinet, although he is not close to the Prime Minister. Faulkner gradually acquired his reputation for probity and forensic prosecution of accountability over Labor’s long years in Opposition, using Estimates with Robert Ray to repeatedly embarrass the Howard Government. Defence, however, will be a test of Faulkner’s policy and political skills in the long-term implementation of the Government’s Defence White Paper and the shorter-term challenges of Australia’s involvement in the Afghan conflict.

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6 thoughts on “Rudd turns Faulkner to Defence

  1. Venise Alstergren

    Of course John Faulkner would be disliked by Kevin Rudd. The good senator is a shining star whose light will be a threat to the PM.
    Why hasn’t Faulkner been promoted long before now? Twinkle twinkle†††.

  2. David Sanderson

    Actually “not close” does not mean disliked. You can be not close to work colleagues without disliking them. Well you should be able to.

  3. redfrogs

    No doubt a shining star – maybe a shining stalwart! Faulkner is best placed to achieve the ambitious cost savings in Defence which Rudd has promised can be achieved.

    After 20 years in the Senate (and ALP president) I think Faulkner likes to wield influence from there. He was one of the architects of the Rudd victory, so about as much of a threat as Geppetto to Pinocchio. Unless of course Rudd’s interests were ever put ahead of the Labor brand…

  4. oscar deer

    What delicious irony.
    Whatever they hoped to achieve when they set out on a course to undermine Fitzgibbon , those behind the actions may rue the day Field Marshall Faulkner takes the helm. Faulkner would have made Rommel shake in his boots.

    I agree with Venise . Few people like Senator Faulkner but his brand loyalty to Labor and whoever is the current PM is legendary. I can picture Kevin Rudd always having the senator in mind for when the right time arose and that is now.

    Minor meddling Defence officials may as well begin packing their bags now. No prisoners are taken with this Field Marshall.

  5. Chris Johnson

    ‘Superman’ Faulkner might be the disciplinarian needed by our Defence boys who loathe taking orders from pollies.

  6. Venise Alstergren

    David Sanderson. You do have a talent for stating the obvious.

    Oscar Deer: Is he that bad? Good. He’s not there to be liked. Only thing, is Defense has dubious track-record re defending Australia. They don’t have to, all it need is a phone call from the American president and we’ll send all our young men to be slaughtered by their (US) enemies. All of which means why does it matter if the troops have boots made of cardboard, rotten cooking and Defence toys of vast expense but dubious achievements. It’s all irrelevant to them.
    However, they are fantastic at king-hitting an individual. Hang in there Senator Faulkner, your country needs you.

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