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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (5 August) . .

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There is an interesting discussion around what is a lobbyist in that context because clearly each of those groups is seeking to influence our opinions. It is probably true to say that the ACT Assembly is not heavily trafficked by professional lobbyists because there are not that many in town. There are certainly plenty in town for federal parliament, but in my experience at least, and from my sense of the discussions with my colleagues, there are not too many coming to the ACT Assembly.

As Mr Skehill points out in his report, regulating lobbying may be an important tool but it can never eliminate corruption in public office. I think that underlines it and points to the fact that we should support this motion today. It sets up an important part of a puzzle, but it is certainly not the sole part; constant vigilance is required. Mr Hanson made a similar comment earlier, and I agree with him, that constant vigilance is required in this space. Certainly, Stephen Skehill commented that personal integrity and a commitment to and compliance with meaningful codes of conduct remain key essentials in combating public corruption. He makes very well that broader point around you can have all the rules you like but if someone is determined or perhaps careless in the way they are influenced then they are going to find ways around the systems.

The motion also includes an extensive code of conduct for lobbying in the territory. The code of conduct outlines some general principles about open and transparent institutions and then sets out the expectations on lobbyists who wish to engage in the ACT. It starts with the initial contact with a public official where a lobbyist must identify that they are a lobbyist, whether or not they are listed on the ACT register of lobbyists, who they are lobbying on behalf of and the nature of the matters they wish to raise in lobbying activities.

The code of conduct then proceeds to outline a series of principles such as acting honestly, keeping political activity separate, not making misleading statements and not representing conflicting or competing interests without the consent of the parties whose interests are involved. It also places restrictions on lobbying activities for people who previously were a member or employed as a staffer, setting time limits for when they may be able to engage in lobbying after ending their previous roles. Having made those few remarks, the Greens support mechanisms that seek to improve the integrity of our governance institution. On that basis I am pleased to support this motion on behalf of the Greens today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Holidays Amendment Bill 2014

Debate resumed from 8 May 2014, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.09): The opposition will not be opposing this bill today. We do have some concerns with it and that particularly comes from the lack of consultation with industry over the implementation of the bill. My understanding is

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