In the lead up to the one and only public hearing for the inquiry into the federal lobbyists scheme, Greens Senator and Australian Greens democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said:
"Academics and non-government organisations have characterised the federal regulation of lobbyists as timid and narrow with serious exclusions, but none have been invited to appear at the one public hearing dedicated to reviewing the scheme (details below).
"Labor and Coalition MPs on the Committee refused to agree to my request to invite any NGOs and academics who have made submissions critical of the scheme.
"The limited line-up feeds an impression that the Gillard government is resistant to an inquiry that recommends strengthening the scheme.
"The Greens initiated an inquiry into lobbyists after the Gillard government sidestepped an obligation to conduct a proper review as recommended in 2008.
"The public has a legitimate right to know who is gaining access to politicians and high level bureaucrats and whether deals are being done.
"The federal code fails to capture in-house lobbyists and lobbying of MPs outside of the Executive. The disclosure requirements and sanctions for non-compliance are also extremely limited.
"This inquiry provides an opportunity to strengthen the current scheme which is almost universally regarded as deficient.
"Tellingly, an international survey on lobbying regulation has found that less than a quarter of lobbyists in Australia themselves judge that the current scheme helps ensure transparency.
What: Public hearing - Inquiry into federal lobbyist regulatory scheme
Who: Prime Minister and Cabinet, Government Relations Australia, Queensland Integrity Commissioner. Senator Rhiannon to sit on the inquiry.
When: 9.15-11.45am, Tuesday 21 February 2012
Where: Committee Room 2S3, Parliament House, Canberra