We need to see what lobbyists do

Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Apr 12, 2024

Democracy should be government by the people, for the people. As John Menadue’s submission makes clear, what we have is too often government by vested interests in favour of vested interests.

Coming from senior government and military positions, lobbyists may be better informed than politicians and staffers; they may be better connected. Lobbyists outnumber those in government, and their numbers are growing. There is no visibility for who they lobby, when, about what. They are credited with resisting essential reforms for our climate, our environment, our tax system and more. They are clearly a cost-effective investment for the interests they represent.

Thanks to Monique Ryan parliament now has an opportunity to cast light on this vested interest plague. Her ‘Lobbying (Improving Government Honesty and Trust) Bill 2023’ asks that ministerial diaries must be published, all lobbyists must be registered, all senior government figures must wait three years before becoming lobbyists, and those who breach the rules must face sanctions. This bill accepts that lobbying has a place in our democracy, but that because of the influence it wields its activities must be open to public scrutiny: this seems an essential reform to help restore integrity in government.

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