by Holly Walker
I’m very excited to report that my first Member’s Bill has been drawn from the parliamentary ballot!
I inherited the Lobbying Disclosure Bill from former Green MP Sue Kedgley when she retired, and I’m thrilled that I’ll get a chance to continue Sue’s great work on transparency and open government with this bill.
The public has a right to know who is engaged in lobbying activities that seek to influence public policy. Many other countries already have lobbyist registers, including Australia, Canada, Germany and the United States. In the United Kingdom, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has also recently committed to bringing lobbying activity into the open. The OECD recommmends that countries should legislate for the public disclosure of lobbying and introduce a code of conduct for how lobbying is carried out.
The ongoing growth of lobbyists’ influence has shifted the political landscape in favour of corporate interests overtime. For an example, we need look no further than the Government’s shameful deal with SkyCity to increase the number of pokie machines in their casino in return for a new convention centre. We need to know when deals like this are taking place.
Real democracy should be a battle of ideas, not a battle of who has the most expensive lobbyists.
I’m delighted that my bill has been pulled, and look forward to it being debated in parliament. I hope to have cross-party support for such an important bill that concerns the reputation and transparency of Parliament.