Premier
Category
Premier's Memorandum
Identifier
M2014-13
Status
Active

M2014-13- NSW Lobbyists Code of Conduct

Description:

Changes to the regulation of lobbying in New South Wales with effect on and from 1 December 2014.

This Memorandum explains the new arrangements for the regulation of lobbying in New South Wales and requires all NSW Government officials:

  • not to have lobbying contact with unregistered third-party lobbyists; and
  • to observe special precautions when meeting with any lobbyist who has been placed on the Lobbyists Watch List.
FunctionElectionsSubject
LegislationAmendments

With effect on and from 1 December 2014, changes to the regulation of lobbying in New South Wales have been made to strengthen the regulation of third-party lobbyists[1] and other lobbyists and confer lobbying-related regulatory functions on the NSW Electoral Commission.

This Memorandum explains the new arrangements for the regulation of lobbying in New South Wales and requires all NSW Government officials:

  • not to have lobbying contact with unregistered third-party lobbyists; and
  • to observe special precautions when meeting with any lobbyist who has been placed on the Lobbyists Watch List.

Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 (the Act)

Amendments to the Act which commence on 1 December 2014:

  1. establish the Electoral Commission as an independent regulator of lobbyists
  2. apply a set of ethical standards to all third-party lobbyists and other individuals and organisations that lobby government
  3. enable the independent regulator to investigate alleged breaches and impose sanctions, which could result in lobbying firms being removed from the Lobbyist Register and other organisations being placed on a Lobbyists Watch List. The Watch List will be published on the same website as the Lobbyists Register and will contain the names of lobbyists who have contravened the Act or the Lobbyists Code of Conduct.

NSW Register of Third-Party Lobbyists

As of 1 December 2014, the NSW Register of Third-Party Lobbyists will be administered by the NSW Electoral Commission. A new website developed by the Electoral Commission will make registration and keeping details up-to-date much simpler for third-party lobbyists.

Visit the Lobbyists Register website at: www.lobbyists.elections.nsw.gov.au

Contact the Register:

By email at:   lobbyists@elections.nsw.gov.au

By phone on:  (02) 9290 5999

NSW Lobbyists Code of Conduct[2]

The new Lobbyists Code requires all lobbyists who seek to influence government policy or decision making to observe the following ethical standards. Lobbyists must:

  • Disclose to the government, when seeking a meeting with a government official, the person or body on behalf of whom the meeting is sought, the nature of the matter proposed to be discussed and whether any registered third-party lobbyists will be present.
  • Disclose any interest in the matter proposed to be discussed at a meeting with a government official prior to the meeting commencing.
  • Not engage in any conduct that is misleading, deceptive, corrupt, or otherwise unlawful.
  • Use all reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves of the truth and accuracy of all material information provided in a meeting with a government official.

All third-party lobbyists must be registered and must comply with additional standards and requirements set out in Part 3 of the Lobbyists Code.

Obligations of NSW Government officials

A NSW Government Official must not permit lobbying by:

      (a) a third-party lobbyist who is not registered in the Register of Third-Party Lobbyists (the Lobbyists Register) established under Part 3 of the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011;

      (b) an individual engaged to undertake lobbying for a third-party lobbyist who is not registered in the Lobbyists Register in respect of the third-party lobbyist;

      (c) any lobbyist who has failed to make disclosures to the Government Official required to be made by the lobbyist under the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 or the Lobbyists Code prescribed under that Act.[3]

      (d) a lobbyist whose name has been placed on the Lobbyists Watch List, unless:

            (i) at least two NSW Government Officials who are not a NSW Minister or Parliamentary Secretary or a staff member of a NSW Minister or Parliamentary Secretary are present during any communication with the lobbyist; and

            (ii) one of those NSW Government Officials takes notes of the communications with the lobbyist, and provides a copy of those notes to the head of the relevant NSW Public Service Agency.

Appointments to Government Boards or Committees[4]

A third-party lobbyist (as defined in the Act) and any individual engaged to undertake lobbying for a third-party lobbyist, is ineligible for appointment to any Government Board or Committee if the functions of the Board or Committee relate to any matter on which the third-party lobbyist or individual 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 Lobbyists Code includes corresponding prohibitions on third-party lobbyists in relation to Government Boards and Committees (Clause 11).

Application

This Memorandum applies to all NSW Government officials including NSW Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries; staff of NSW Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries; heads of NSW Public Service agencies; employees of (and contractors with) the NSW Public Service, the NSW Transport Service and any other service of the Crown; and members of NSW statutory bodies. It does not include a local government official.

All NSW Government officials must comply with the policies set out in this Memorandum.

The Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 and the Lobbying of Government Officials (Lobbyists Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014 are available on the NSW Government legislation website.

 

 

[1] Throughout this Memorandum, words or phrases in italics have the same meanings as those words have in the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 and the Lobbying of Government Officials (Lobbyist Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014

[2] The new Code is prescribed under the Lobbying of Government Official Act 2011 (as amended by Schedule 3 of the Electoral and Lobbying Legislation Amendment (Electoral Commission) Act 2014). The previous  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 previous Lobbyists Code was amended on 1 July 2011 and 31 October 2013.

[3] Under Part 2 of the NSW Lobbyists Code of Conduct, contained in Schedule 1 to the Lobbying of Government Officials (Lobbyists Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014:

      1. All lobbyists are required to disclose, before a meeting with a Government official takes place:
            (a) the nature of the matter to be discussed at the proposed meeting (Clause 5); and
            (b) any financial or other interest they have in the matter to be discussed at the meeting (Clause 6).
      2. Third-party lobbyist must disclose, before any meeting is held or communication is made for the purposes of lobbying,
            (a) that they are third-party lobbyists; and
            (b) the names of any individuals they have engaged to undertake the lobbying; and
            (c) the name of the client who has retained them to provide the lobbying service. (Clause 10)

 

[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)