With effect on and from 31 October 2013, changes to the regulation of lobbying in New South Wales have been made to require a strict separation of lobbying activities from executive decision making by political parties. This Memorandum explains:
NSW Lobbyist Code of Conduct 1
The NSW Lobbyist Code of Conduct (the Lobbyist Code) provides for a Register of Lobbyists and requires that Government Representatives must not permit lobbying by a professional lobbyist unless the lobbyist is listed on the Register of Lobbyists and has disclosed certain information in his or her initial contact with the Government Representative.
The Register of Lobbyists and the current version of the Lobbyist Code are available on the Department of Premier and Cabinet's website (www.dpc.nsw.gov.au).
Breaches of the Lobbyist Code should be reported to the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The Codes of Conduct that apply to Ministers, Ministerial staff and other Government Representatives (as defined in the Lobbyist Code) expressly require compliance with the Lobbyist Code. This means that a breach of the Lobbyist Code by persons to whom those Codes of Conduct apply also constitutes a breach of the relevant Code of Conduct.
Separation of lobbying activities from executive decision-making by political parties 2
On and from 31 October 2013, the Lobbyist Code prohibits individuals occupying or acting in an office or position concerned with the management of a registered political party from being included on the Lobbyist Register. Owners, partners, major shareholders or other individuals involved in the management of the business of the Lobbyist will be similarly prohibited.
Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 3
The Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 makes it a criminal offence to pay or receive a success fee for lobbying. The Lobbyist Coderequires the Director General to remove a lobbyist from the Register if they have been found guilty of that offence.
The Act also prohibits a former Minister or former Parliamentary Secretary from engaging in lobbying in the 18 months after they cease to hold office. The Act makes it a criminal offence if the former Minister or former Parliamentary Secretary lobbies a government official in relation to an official matter dealt with by them, in relation to their portfolio responsibilities, during the 18 months before they ceased to hold office.
The Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 is available on the NSW Government legislation website.
Appointments to Government Boards or Committees 4
A Lobbyist (as defined in the Code) and the employees, contractors or persons otherwise engaged by the Lobbyist to carry out lobbying activities are ineligible for appointment to any Government Board or Committee if the functions of the Board or Committee relate to any matter on which the Lobbyist (or person engaged by the Lobbyist) represents the interests of third parties, or has represented the interests of third parties in the 12 months prior to the date of the proposed appointment.
This policy applies to all NSW Government Boards and Committees, including the boards of State Owned Corporations.
Before considering making or recommending any appointment, a Minister must ensure that his or her agency has discussed this policy with the candidate and is satisfied that the proposed appointment complies with the Government policy on appointments to any Government Board or Committee.
The Lobbyist Code includes corresponding prohibitions on Lobbyists in relation to Government Boards and Committees (Clauses 7.1(e) and 8.3(b)).
All Government Representatives (as defined in the Lobbyist Code) must comply with the Lobbyist Code and policies set out in this Memorandum.
All Government Representatives should ensure that they are aware of their obligations under the revised Lobbyist Code.
Barry O'Farrell MP
1 The NSW Lobbyists Code of Conduct was first introduced as Government policy in NSW by Premier's Memorandum M2009-03 NSW Lobbyist Code and Register (January 2009) . The Lobbyists Code has been amended on 1 July 2011 and 31 October 2013.
2 The Premier made this amendment to the Lobbyists Code of Conduct on 19 September 2013, to take effect on and from 31 October 2013.
3 The Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 commenced on 1 July 2011
4 This policy for appointments to Boards and Committees was first issued in Premier's Memorandum M2011-13 Lobbying of Government Officials (30 June 2011)