The Grattan Institute's Who’s in the room? Access and influence in Australian politics is groundbreaking work: a study that uses hard data to explore the disturbing extent to which special interests gain access to and influence within our political system at state and federal level. The report, by Danielle Wood and Kate Griffiths, goes to the heart of the lack of voter trust in our political system and why that lack of trust is justified by the ability of special interests to push for self-interested outcomes.
Most important is the hard work Wood and Griffiths have done tracking the role played by highly regulated industries in trying to influence outcomes via political donations and access to ministers. Their data demonstrates what intuitively makes sense but which has never been clearly detailed before: those industries that have the most to gain from influencing political decisions are the busiest at trying to influence politicians.