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Let's not go overboard: Is the sound of a Minister trying to walk back integrity promise?


The Queensland Government will be “mindful of not going overboard” when considering which attempts to influence are captured by its lobbying laws, the transport minister says

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Responding to recommendations in a Crime and Corruption Commission report released this week, Minister Mark Bailey said seven proposed reforms to improve transparency are being considered.

But lobbying as a profession “is a very specific thing”, and the state government must make sure there are no adverse outcomes from proposed changes, Mr Bailey said.

“We’ve got to be mindful of not going overboard,” he told reporters on Friday.

“What happens when a constituent lobbies you or a peak body or a CEO?

“You get lobbied every day as a politician. Should we be classifying every single group that lobbies us as a lobbyist? I doubt that.”

Under the CCC recommendations, the definition of lobbyist would be amended to focus on activities of influencing rather than particular individuals or organisations.

“Lobbying activities by in-house lobbyists, trade unions and industry associations, non-profit entities and other special interest groups, and lobbying that is incidental or not for a fee or other reward … are not strictly captured under the existing Queensland legislation,” the report says.

The report also recommends expanding the definition of a government or opposition representative to include all members of parliament and electorate employees.

It notes that Queensland’s lobbying framework is “already one of the strongest in Australia”, and transparency will likely improve as a result of last year’s Coaldrake Review.

Following the release of the report in June last year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would take personal responsibility to ensure the report’s 14 recommendations were implemented, including the proactive release of cabinet submissions, agendas and decision papers.

“It means that cabinet papers, which are usually held for 30 years, will be released in 30 days. This is revolutionary,” she said at the time.

Professor Peter Coaldrake also called for a ban on “dual-hatting”, where people who work on political campaigns are able to lobby governments after elections.

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