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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3580 ..

Nurses staffing legislation and lobbyists registration legislation-exposure drafts

Papers and statement by member

MR OSBORNE (10.52): I seek leave to present two exposure draft bills.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: I present the following papers:

Nurses Staffing Bill 2001;

Lobbyists Registration Bill 2001-

Exposure drafts together with explanatory memoranda.

I ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: I will speak to the Lobbyists Registration Bill first. I understand that Mr Moore wants to speak to the Nurses Staffing Bill.

If there is one thing I have learned in my two terms in this Assembly it is that there are great dangers in allowing a government, of any persuasion, to operate behind a veil of secrecy. It is the deal done behind the closed door, with the decision presented as a fait accompli, that ends up costing the taxpayers far more than the government pretends at the time.

In many cases, non-government members of this Assembly never become aware of the real inspiration for government decisions. The person behind that closed door-the person persuading the government, the lobbyist pulling the strings of government-remains a shadowy figure. If the people of Brindabella return me for a third term, I will be making the exposure of backroom dealings a key feature of my work in the Assembly-hence this exposure draft of a Lobbyists Registration Bill, a bill that, when passed, will shed some light on how decisions are made in this territory.

The Lobbyists Registration Bill, based on the Canadian Lobbyist Registration Act, acknowledges that free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest; that lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity; that it is desirable that public office holders and the public are able to know who is attempting to influence government; and that a system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government. The bill has four main points aimed at achieving those purposes:

the registration of lobbyists;

the powers of the registrar;

offences under the act; and

establishing a lobbyist's code of conduct.

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