Regulation of lobbying

21 July 2010

Both in NSW, and at a national level, there is push to broaden the existing regulation of lobbyists. This might involve regulating the activities of so-called “in-house” lobbyists. This may mean that people who speak to government on behalf of a business may need to register as a lobbyist even when they are salaried employees and/or professionals such as town planners, architects or lawyers.

At a federal level, a discussion paper has just been released and public submissions can be made up until 30 September 2010. Details are here.

In NSW, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is conducting an investigation into the lobbying of public officials and the related procedures and regulatory system.

As part of this investigation the Commission released an issues paper and invited submissions (as we reported in our Member Alert of 26 May).

The Urban Taskforce recently finalised our submission to the ICAC, which is available here.

The extension of regulation proposed by the ICAC in its issues paper has the potential to significantly impact on the ability of property developers, and others, to talk to public officials. Our submission argues against unreasonable restrictions and explains that a democratic government cannot function if it does not listen to people, and people must be entitled to employ others to talk to government on their behalf.