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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked his department to probe whether Bridget McKenzie was in breach of ministerial standards in her handling of the sports grants program. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Why we need strong ethical standards for ministers – and better ways of enforcing them

Our government has grappled for years to devise ethical standards for ministers and other officials. But codes are only part of the answer – MPs must also take responsibility for their own conduct.
The Keating cabinet in 1995, featuring John Faulkner (back row, centre), whose vision for a carbon price was thwarted. AAP Image/National Archives of Australia

Cabinet papers 1994-95: Keating’s climate policy grapples sound eerily familiar

Paul Keating’s government, faced with the prospect of international action on climate change, took steps to preserve the coal industry - a tactic that has been rebooted many times since.
Labor elder John Faulkner has served as a cabinet minister under three prime ministers. AAP/Alan Porritt

Faulkner’s Senate place taken by party president

ALP national president Jenny McAllister will replace John Faulkner in the Senate when parliament resumes following the veteran Labor figure’s announcement that he is retiring after a quarter of a century…
The public response to the eulogies to Gough Whitlam testifies to the power of oratory that draws on and gives fresh life to memory. AAP/Alan Porritt

Memoria in Memoriam: Whitlam’s farewell invokes power of oratory

In a playful rhetorical flourish at the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday, Indigenous leader Noel Pearson monumentalised Gough Whitlam’s prime ministerial legacy, Monty Python-style: What did the Romans ever…
The problem confronting Labor and federal leader Bill Shorten is not so much the ties with unions as the centralisation of power in the party and a handful of affiliated unions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor will be making a mistake if it simply divorces the unions

Proposed reforms in the Australian Labor Party aim to give members a greater voice in party governance and policy development. This is driven by the need to reverse the party’s shrinking support base after…
Senator John Faulkner’s call for political parties to re-engage with Australians through social media is laudable, but his own efforts illustrate how much politicians have to learn. Facebook/John Faulkner

Politics as usual? Ailing parties fail to get to grips with social media

After his speech about party renewal last week, I went to Labor Senator John Faulkner’s Facebook page. It has about 2700 likes. The page features links to speeches and pictures of events that Faulkner…
John Faulkner says factions, affiliates or interest groups binding parliamentarians in caucus votes or ballots must be banned. AAP/Paul Miller

Cut union representation in Labor conferences: Faulkner

Labor elder John Faulkner has called for a radical overhaul of the party’s structure that would drastically reduce union representation at its state conferences. Faulkner, who has been a continuing voice…
It seems things are not yet bad enough in the Labor Party to make significant reform, such as John Faulkner’s proposed changes to preselection, likely. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Faulkner’s reforms will fail as NSW Labor refuses to change

Labor senator John Faulkner does not anticipate that his moves to reform the party’s preselection processes will succeed at this weekend’s NSW State Conference. Faulkner is hoping to have the rules changed…
Senator John Faulkner is a voice for Labor Party reform. AAP/Daniel Munoz

NSW Labor must change as well as apologise: John Faulkner

Labor Party guru senator John Faulkner has called on the NSW ALP to “front up and apologise” for the corruption that has tainted state politics – and to embrace reforms to prevent it ever happening again…
Tony Abbott’s credibility has taken a blow this week, after going back on the electoral funding legislation. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Could John Faulkner get the last laugh?

It was an extraordinary moment. Tony Abbott, overcome with emotion, as he paid a tribute to Martin Ferguson, after Labor’s former resources minister announced he would leave parliament at the election…
John Faulkner has been vocal in his opposition of this proposed legislation. AAP/Dean Lewins

Taxpayers will now fund political parties’ administration

A government plan to hand out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers money for the administrative costs of political parties has been bitterly attacked by highly-respected former minister John Faulkner…
Labor elder Senator John Faulkner has called for a thorough reform of internal party practices. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

NSW Labor, the Catholic Church and the ADF: institutions eating themselves alive

Since its nineteenth century birth, the Australian Labor Party has helped to define the country’s institutional landscape. But according to one of its most respected members, party grandee Senator John…
ALP stalwart Senator John Faulkner’s recommendations do not go far enough. AAP

Tear down that wall, Senator Faulkner

Let’s get serious, Senator Faulkner, the problem is the process of candidate selection. John Faulkner’s excellent speech last night describes a process of ALP decline that has been underway for most of…

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