Christian Kerr writes:


Canberra lobbyists Client Solutions indulged in a clever bit of self
promotion yesterday, releasing the results of a semi-regular survey of
politicians lobbying preferences. Its findings should be obvious even to
Blind Freddy, but we all know what greed can do to judgement.

Pollies say they don’t like special
interest groups that make ambit claims, don’t appreciate time constraints,
waste time on insignificant issues, misstate the facts and – d’oh! – lack local
electorate focus.

But they have something else to say –
buried down the bottom of the release. It tells us: “Respondents also
voted overwhelmingly in favour of the registrations of lobbyists (almost 75%)
and for a Code of Ethics to cover their activities (80%).”

That’s just what the Opposition called for
at the launch of press gallery journalist Julian Fitzgerald’s essential book
Lobbying in Australia earlier this year. The industry, Fitzgerald found, is worth
$700 million per year. He talks of reluctance to regulate the activities of
lobbyists.

Yet Client Solutions’ findings suggest that
pollies want to act. Are they doing a Saint Augustine?
“Lord, make me good – but not yet.”

Peter Fray

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