Vicki Dunne Photo: Katherine Griffiths
A bid by ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher to regulate professional lobbyists who seek to influence political decisions has hit a snag after Legislative Assembly Speaker Vicki Dunne expressed reservations about the proposal.
Ms Gallagher wants to establish a public register and code of conduct for consultants who assist clients to lobby members of the Legislative Assembly.
The ACT and the Northern Territory are the only two Australian jurisdictions without a register and code of conduct for lobbyists.
Mrs Dunne said on Tuesday that interstate, federal and overseas codes only applied to the lobbying of ministers, not discussions held with non-executive members of Parliament.
She did not believe it would be appropriate for an ACT code and register to cover representations made to non-executive members of the Assembly.
A New Zealand House of Representatives committee had previously rejected a proposal for a lobbyists' code of conduct that would affect private members of Parliament. ''I think that there is an argument for transparency in ministerial actions,'' Mrs Dunne said.
''But ministerial actions are much more complex and have a day-to-day impact on people. They make executive decisions … and some of those decisions are not necessarily transparent.''
Mrs Dunne said she was discussing the issue in her capacity as Speaker, not as a representative of the Liberal opposition.
The proposal for the regulation of lobbyists is expected to be referred to an Assembly committee on Thursday. The Chief Minister said on Wednesday the scheme should cover all members of the Assembly.
''Establishment of a lobbyist register and code of conduct is ultimately about principles of accountability and transparency and those principles should apply to all elected members of Parliament,'' Ms Gallagher said.
''The motion refers the establishment of the register to the Administration and Procedure Committee, and they will no doubt look to how other registers work.''