ICAC Lobbying Review needs further consideration

Mon, 15 Nov 2010

While the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) welcomes the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s commitment to demystifying lobbying activity, it warns that recommendations in the Investigation into Corruption Risks Involved in Lobbying report released last week could prove to be unwieldy.

CEO, Jon Bisset said that PRIA welcomed ICAC’s efforts to support the vast majority of lobbyists in recognising that a few individuals can affect the reputation of a whole industry.

“Dedicated professionals who genuinely represent matters of public interest have for too long been the scapegoat for some who have behaved unethically,” he said.

“PRIA supports steps to address corruption risks by improving transparency in a manner that is practical, simple and does not impose unnecessary costs on government or lobbyists, and will not unduly interfere with access to government, however, we believe that the recommended reporting activity for both government officials and lobbyists may prove to be a hindrance to the genuine efforts of professional lobbyists and government officials, especially for those who have frequent contact with government.

“PRIA believes it is critical that the NSW Government steps carefully in activating the Commission’s recommendations and consults further with industry groups.”

As Australia’s public relations peak industry group, PRIA worked closely with leading representatives of lobbying organisations, specialist lobbying consultancies and in-house representatives to ensure that the Commission appreciated the essential role lobbyists play in Australia’s democratic system.

PRIA continues to call for a national approach in lobbying activity. Currently lobbyists who work nationally have to comply with six separate state and federal government registers and policies.

“This is a significant impost on business and needs to be addressed by all relevant parties, “ Mr Bisset said.

A copy of the fact sheet and ICAC investigation report can be downloaded here.

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 02 2010