7 May 2013

New obligations on lobbyists came into force in Queensland last week.  They flow from a 2012 amendment to the Right to Information and Integrity Act,

Not only are Ministers and Departments required to disclose contacts made by lobbyists and any document disclosed to the lobbyist but the State’s lobbyists code of conduct now includes requirement that lobbyists also record and declare their contacts with both Ministers and opposition MPs.

The code changes were planned for 1 April but procedural issues delayed the commencement date.

The enthusiasm in most western democracies for transparency obligations on both lobbyists and the lobbied continues to pass New Zealand by.  Engendering public interest in the current Constitution Review seems to be an uphill struggle.  Few seem interested in constraining what may be generally accepted as the way politicians go about their business. In New Zealand, lobbying does not appear to have the undesirable connotation it has elsewhere.

The new Queensland definition of lobbying activity is;

(a) contact with a government representative in an effort to influence State or local government decision-making, including—

(i) the making or amendment of legislation; and

(ii) the development or amendment of a government policy or program; and

(iii) the awarding of a government contract or grant; and

(iv) the allocation of funding; and

(v) the making of a decision about planning or giving of a development approval under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009; or

(b) contact with an Opposition representative in an effort to influence the Opposition’s decision-making, including—

(i) the making or amendment of legislation; and

(ii) the development or amendment of a policy or program of the Opposition; and

(iii) the Opposition’s position or view in relation to State or local government decision-making, including, for example, the matters mentioned in paragraph (a)(i) to (v).

www.integrity.qld.gov.au/page/tools/whats-new.shtml

www.integrity.qld.gov.au/page/lobbyists/code-of-conduct.shtml

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