NGOs Excluded from Lobbyists Inquiry
21 February 2012 at 9:21 am
|Senator Lee Rhiannon says academics and NGOs have been excluded from a government inquiry underway in Canberra|
The Australian Greens claim academics and NGOs have been excluded from a Parliamentary inquiry into the federal lobbyist regulatory scheme that it initiated which is underway in Canberra.
Australian Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon says: "Academics and non-government organisations have characterised the federal regulation of lobbyists as timid and narrow with serious exclusions, but none have been invited to appear at the one public hearing dedicated to reviewing the scheme."
"Labor and Coalition MPs on the Committee refused to agree to my request to invite any NGOs and academics who have made submissions critical of the scheme,” she said.
"The limited line-up feeds an impression that the Gillard government is resistant to an inquiry that recommends strengthening the scheme."
Senator Rhiannon said the Greens initiated an inquiry into lobbyists after the Gillard government sidestepped an obligation to conduct a proper review as recommended in 2008.
"The public has a legitimate right to know who is gaining access to politicians and high level bureaucrats and whether deals are being done.
"The federal code fails to capture in-house lobbyists and lobbying of MPs outside of the Executive. The disclosure requirements and sanctions for non-compliance are also extremely limited.
"This inquiry provides an opportunity to strengthen the current scheme which is almost universally regarded as deficient,” she said.
Submissions to the inquiry, including the Australian Greens submission can be found here.
The Committee website can be accessed here.