NSW Greens corruption spokesperson Jamie Parker MP has called for companies who lobby politicians without registering themselves or their lobbying activities to be fined.
The announcement comes at the start of the second phase of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into lobbying, Operation Eclipse. The Commission will examine the question as to whether there are inherent corruption risks in relation to direct and indirect lobbying.
Jamie Parker says:
“Lobbying rules in NSW are an embarrassment.
“If a corporation is suspended or removed from the register and they continue to lobby there is no penalty. Without significant consequences for lobbyists who break rules there is no deterrent against corruption.
“Here in NSW we are lagging behind jurisdictions like Western Australia where lobbying by unregistered persons carries a fine of $10,000.
“A poorly regulated lobbying system risks giving more of a voice to those wealthy and well-connected individuals and groups who strive for personal profit, rather than the common good.
“We’ve heard nothing from the major parties during this lobbying inquiry. Neither Labor, the Liberals nor the Nationals have made submissions or made any significant comment. Their silence suggests that they are content with holding on to the bad system already in place.
“Last week the Greens won an inquiry into funding for oversight bodies including the Electoral Commissioner and the ICAC with a view to making their funding independent and increasing their abilities police corruption and lobbying offences in NSW.
“Only the Greens are committed to cleaning up politics in NSW,” he says.