RUDD & FAULKNER FAIL MINISTERIAL STANDARDS
On the first day of the new Labor Ministry, Kevin Rudd has already failed his own standards of integrity and accountability.
Senator John Faulkner was today appointed as Special Minister of State, but according to ALP records continues to serve as ALP National President.
The ALP website, already updated to reflect Senator Faulkner’s ministerial appointment, confirms that Senator Faulkner is still serving as the ALP National President. His term is not due to expire until 25 April 2008.
As Special Minister of State, Senator Faulkner is responsible for administering the Australian Electoral Commission and determining opposition and minor party staff and resources.
There is a fundamental conflict in having the minister responsible for protecting the independence and integrity of the Australian Electoral Commission also serving as president of a political party.
The Special Minister of State is a very sensitive position which underpins the independence of elections and the integrity of the parliamentary process. It needs to be seen to be above partisan politics.
Mr Rudd himself says Senator Faulkner has responsibility for “the integrity of functions within government” (Source: The Australian, 30/11/2007) including Freedom of Information laws.
The truth is Mr Rudd has created a special portfolio for ALP President Faulkner with the brief to do whatever it takes to ensure the re-election of the Labor Government.
There is a clear conflict between Senator Faulkner’s partisan role as ALP National President and his ministerial responsibilities as Special Minister of State.
John Faulkner needs to confirm that he resigned as President of the Australian Labor Party before being sworn in today as Special Minister of State.
The first test for ALP President Faulkner as Special Minister of State will be whether he provides adequate staff and resources for the opposition to do its job.
Senator Faulkner needs to either resign as ALP President or be stripped of responsibility for the electoral commission and parliamentary services. He cannot do both.