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31 May 2023, 16:57
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

I rise to make a contribution to the Public Administration and Planning Legislation Amendment (Control of Lobbyists) Bill 2023. This bill aims to implement the recommendations of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s special report on Operation Clara. The special report stresses the need for reforms to the regulation of lobbying in Victoria and makes recommendations to bring Victoria into line with other jurisdictions.

The report recommendations include amendments to various non-statutory codes of conduct to ensure that a lobbyist is ineligible for appointment to any public entity with functions relevant to the director’s lobbying activities; to ensure that individuals seeking nominations to a public entity board register any lobbying activities that have taken place within a specific period; to prohibit public entity board directors from engaging in lobbying activities on any matter that relates to the functions of that public entity; and to require that public entity board directors comply with integrity requirements, including conflict-of-interest provisions, in relation to representations they have made prior to their appointment.

We understand also that the government has given in-principle support to the recommendations of the report and has already commenced work to strengthen the framework around lobbyists. We look forward to seeing the outcome of the government’s work. I am pleased in that context that all roads appear to be leading to reform.

In broad terms Legalise Cannabis Victoria is supportive of any measure that advances Victoria’s integrity system and strengthens our political institutions. As legislators and public office holders we need to ensure public administration is conducted in a manner that is transparent and supports the interests of the people of Victoria, who we have all been elected to serve. We are supportive of any steps towards enhanced integrity, so we will support this bill, noting that the reform it intends to achieve will ultimately be achieved via a different government-led vehicle.


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