Attorney General Christian Porter.

From the Crikey grapevine, it’s the latest tips and rumours…

Seeing through a transparency fail. As Crikey has reported over the years, the Attorney-General's department has a long track record both of attacking basic liberties and bungling the basics of administration. Now it's doing its best (or should that be its worst?) to undermine what little transparency there is for whoever is trying to influence government policy. The federal lobbyist register was run by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for nearly a decade after being established by the Rudd government, but in May this year responsibility was moved to the AG's department. At PM&C, the register was easy to search and, after its establishment, easy for lobbyists to register and update their details. Now, it's nothing of the sort.

For external users, loading and searching the register itself takes forever. But for lobbyists required to register and update information, it's much worse -- so much so that last week the department apologised to them for how bad it was. Last week, Andrew Walter, head of the integrity and security division (the division that sent the threatening letter to Nine) emailed lobbyists, explaining that he is "aware that users are experiencing a range of technical issues when using the new registration portal".