Lobbyists (Restrictions on Lobbying) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

I thank the member for Kaurna for his contribution on behalf of the opposition, notwithstanding that it appears that, even with briefings, he is reserving the opposition's determination on whether they support this bill or not. The briefings have been provided. I note that the member raises what he claims are apparent inconsistencies between the contribution to the parliament and the recordings of Mr Tom Richardson in InDaily articles on 31 May 2018 to 16 May 2019. We do not accept those claims of inconsistency.

What I think the member answered in his own contribution is that advice had been taken on the implementation of the reform of the Lobbyists Act since coming to government. Accordingly, in the bill presented here for consideration there is a very specific and deliberate inclusion of the associated entities for which there is application of this legislative registration process to be consistent with that which is defined in the Electoral Act. Clearly, that enables there to be consistency for the purposes of interpretation.

The indication by the member for Kaurna that his party is contributing and is supportive of a comprehensive lobbyist register procedure is based on the fact that his side of the parliament, when in government, had initiated the process. I would like to remind the member for Kaurna that, whilst the former premier in this parliament had announced a lobbyist register protocol in relation to a registration arrangement, it took years for that to be converted to a statutory-based obligation.

That was very disappointing because, in light of the lobbyist laws around the country and the progression of statutory-based obligations in this regard, it seemed that the previous Labor administration in this state was not too happy to make provision on a statutory basis. Ultimately, that came to pass, but under considerable pressure. It was a little bit like the torturous development, approval and implementation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Nevertheless, there is no question that, on our side of the house, prior to the election we made it absolutely clear, and we maintain our position, that you cannot hold office in a political party and be a lobbyist. We acted on coming into government to implement that obligation. The confusion or otherwise of the member for Kaurna or other members of his party is a matter for him. I do not know how much clearer we could have been in the briefings; nevertheless, we promote for the consideration and approval of this house this bill consistent with that promise to the people of South Australia. We are proud to present the bill to the parliament for its approval.