The need for a strong accountability framework to govern the business of lobbying in Western Australia is now universally accepted. But Alan Carpenter’s proposed Register of Lobbyists will achieve very little. Consider the following list of Perth’s most influential lobbyists. I’ve listed each lobbyist with the details of the organisation they work for, and where appropriate I’ve included other relevant affiliations in brackets. Now I’ve probably missed a lot of names, particularly the corporate carpet-strollers, but I think it makes the point. The thing about the names in bold is that they won’t be covered at all under the Carpenter Register of Lobbyists — but the fact is that they all wield significant influence and they all regularly seek assistance and concessions from the Government. Any effective regulation on lobbying must include them.

  • Megan Anwyl, Hawker Britton (former ALP MP)
  • Clive Brown (former ALP Minister)
  • Mal Bryce (former ALP Minister)
  • John Cummings, Independent Grocers Association
  • Len Buckeridge, Construction Supremo
  • Joe Bullock, Shop Assistants’ Union boss
  • Peter Clough (former ALP staffer)
  • Roger Cook, CPR (former ALP staffer)
  • Tim Daly, Australian Workers Union Boss
  • Grant Dorrington, Road Safety Council
  • Paul Everingham (former Liberal State Director)
  • Tristy Fairfield, Australian Conservation Foundation
  • Ian Fletcher, BHP Billiton (former Lib Chief of Staff)
  • Jock Ferguson, AMWU boss
  • John Halden, Halden Burns (former ALP MP)
  • Dave Kelly, Miscellaneous Workers Union boss
  • John Langoulant, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (former Under-Treasurer)
  • Barry McKinnon (former Lib Minister)Des Riley, Riley MathewsonKevin Reynolds, CFMEU bossDave Robinson, UnionsWA
  • Tim Shanahan, Chamber of Minerals and Energy (former Government Departmental chief)
  • Chris Tallantire, Conservation Council WA
  • Ian Taylor (former ALP Minister)
  • Bradley Woods, Australian Hotels Association

For Carpenter to construct an accountability framework that fails to regulate a major part of the lobbying industry is bewildering. In my view, it proves that he is either grossly incompetent, or else he has had to settle on an imperfect policy as a result of pressure from interest groups — in this case, an unholy alliance of union heavies and the big end of town. My money is on the latter. 

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey