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The Senate today voted in favour of establishing an inquiry to look into lobbying in support of a motion moved by ACT Independent Senator David Pocock.

The inquiry will run until the end of April next year through the Financial and Public Administration References Committee. 


It will examine the adequacy of current transparency arrangements relating to the lobbyist register including the current sponsored pass system for lobbyists to access Australian Parliament House with particular regard to transparency and publication of lobbyists who are pass holders and their sponsors.

Senator Pocock said he’d been shocked since the election at the lack of transparency and the resistance to establishing a more open and accountable system.

“Over 2,000 people have unfettered, all hours access to Parliament House’s private areas,” Senator Pocock said.

“While I fully support people having access to politicians, we need to make sure that access is democratic, open and transparent.

“Currently there is no publicly available list about who has this level of access or who gave it to them.

“We’ve also seen a real failure in the effective implementation of the lobbying code of conduct, with few investigations, even fewer established breaches and pretty paltry penalties.

“Lobbyists already get more access to decision makers than the average person. This needs to be balanced out with greater accountability over who is giving them this privilege.”

Senator Pocock also said that he hopes the inquiry will lend support and create a further evidence base for the Member for Kooyong, Dr Monique Ryan’s, Private Member’s Bill and associated #CleanUpPoliticsCampaign.

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