Glencore, Downer Group, Visy Industries: are these some of the companies set to benefit from a return to the Palaszczuk government, secured with the help of their well-connected lobbyists?
Labor lobbyists Cameron Milner and Evan Moorhead were instrumental in Annastacia Palaszczuk’s historic third election win over the weekend, even, as The Australian reports, basing themselves at the premier’s office to run strategy for the campaign.
Milner and Moorhead have become some of the most sought out lobbyists in Queensland since leaving their high-powered government jobs in recent years.
Moorhead worked for Palaszczuk as a senior strategist before leaving last year to set up lobby firm Anacta Strategies. And Milner is Bill Shorten’s former chief of staff who helped Palaszczuk defeat Campbell Newman in 2015. He has lobbied on behalf of Adani and Dreamworld owner, Ardent Leisure.
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As Crikey wrote in September, the pair has built an enviable list of clients eager to get close to the popular Palaszczuk government, and has already delivered several big wins on their behalf.
But it’s not just the two of them pulling in clients. Also on the books at Milner’s lobby firm, Next Level Strategic, is Kate Barwick, a former media adviser for Matt Canavan who also worked for Newman, and Shawn Lambert, another former Shorten staffer. The group was set up by Newman’s former chief of staff David Moore.
An examination of Queensland’s lobbyists register reveals just how extensive the pair’s client list has become.
Anacta Strategies has signed up clients from all over Queensland in industries as diverse as oil and gas, education and healthcare. Some of the biggest names in corporate Australia are on the list, including resources giant Glencore and engineering firm Downer Group. Milner’s firm, Next Level Strategic Services, also boasts some big-name clients, including Shell, Ramsay Health Care and Broadspectrum.
The pair was already securing big wins for its clients in the lead up to the election.
As the Oz points out, Pembroke Resources, represented by Milner, won approval for a new coking-coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin in May, despite environmental concerns.
And in September, Palaszczuk stood beside Glencore’s chief operation officer Matt O’Neill to announce the company’s Mount Isa copper smelter would get a “one-off” incentive from the state government.
So will their other clients now be looking for favours from the government they helped to elect?
Given that the rules around lobbying and conflicts of interest are so weak, the voters who Milner and Moorhead convinced to return Palaszczuk to power are right to be worried.