Australian Government Register of Lobbyists
In 2008, the Australian Government introduced the Lobbying Code of Conduct (the Code) and established the Register of Lobbyists (Register). The intent of the Code is to ensure that contact between lobbyists and Australian Government representatives is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency, integrity and honesty.
The department is pleased to announce the release of a redesigned Register website and user portal. The release will occur on 27 May 2020 and completes the first of two tranches of improvements that the department is making to its Register, website and user portal.
The new website and portal have been designed to address a number of issues identified by the Australian National Audit Office. The department has also used this opportunity to incorporate a number of new features and designs based on feedback received from lobbying practitioners. The new system will provide a more intuitive, streamlined and efficient portal for users, as well as improving the general useability of the Register.
Any lobbyist who acts on behalf of third-party clients for the purposes of lobbying Australian Government representatives must be registered and comply with the requirements of the Code.
The Code underpins the Register and sets out the requirements for contact between third-party lobbyists and Australian Government representatives. The Code indicates what will be publicly available on the Register and outlines the conditions for lobbyists. It also provides definitions of lobbyists, clients, Australian Government representatives and lobbying activities for the purposes of the Register. A copy of the Code can be located on the left side bar.
To register as a lobbyist or update your existing registration, please go to the user portal.
Lobbying is a legitimate activity and an important part of the democratic process. Lobbyists can help individuals and organisations communicate their views on matters of public interest to the Government and, in doing so, improve outcomes for the individual and the community as a whole.
In performing this role, there is a public expectation that lobbying activities will be carried out ethically and transparently and that Australian Government representatives who are approached by lobbyists can establish whose interests they represent so that informed judgments can be made about the outcome they are seeking to achieve.
The Register contains the following information about lobbyists who make representations to the Australian Government on behalf of a third-party client:
- the business registration details and trading names of each lobbying entity including, where the business is not a publicly listed company, the names of owners, partners or major shareholders, as applicable
- the names and positions of persons employed, contracted or otherwise engaged by the lobbying entity to carry out lobbying activities, and
- the names of clients on whose behalf the lobbying entity conducts lobbying activities.
In order to register, individual lobbyists are required to provide a statutory declaration.
Principles of engagement with Australian Government representatives
The Code requires that lobbyists observe the following principles when engaging with Australian Government representatives:
- lobbyists shall not engage in any conduct that is corrupt, dishonest or illegal, or unlawfully cause or threaten any detriment
- lobbyists shall use all reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves of the truth and accuracy of all statements and information provided by them to clients whom they represent, the wider public and Australian Government representatives
- lobbyists shall not make misleading, exaggerated or extravagant claims about, or otherwise misrepresent, the nature or extent of their access to Australian Government representatives, members of political parties or to any other person, and
- lobbyists shall keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as lobbyists any personal activity or involvement on behalf of a political party.
When making initial contact with an Australian Government representative with the intention of conducting lobbying activities on behalf of clients, lobbyists must inform the Australian Government representative:
- that they are lobbyists or employees of, or contractors or persons engaged by, a lobbyist
- whether they are currently listed on the Register
- the name of their relevant client or clients, including a client whose identity is not required to be made public under clause 5.2 of the Code, and
- the nature of the matters that their clients wish them to raise with Government representative.
A checklist is available to help Australian Government representatives ensure that these requirements are met.
Who needs to register?
While some lobbyists work directly for a single client (known as 'in-house' lobbyists), others lobby on behalf of a number of different clients ('third-party lobbyists'). It is important that Australian Government representatives know whose interests lobbyists are representing when engaging with them. While this is evident for in-house lobbyists, it may not always be so clear for those representing third-party clients. For this reason, the Australian Government Lobbying Code of Conduct (the Code), only applies to the activities of third-party lobbyists.
For the purposes of the Code, a lobbyist is any person, company or organisation who conducts lobbying activities on behalf of a third-party client or whose employees conduct lobbying activities on behalf of a third-party client.
However, individuals, companies or organisations falling into one of the following categories are not required to register:
- charities and religious organisations
- non-profit organisations and associations
- individuals making representations on behalf of relatives or friends
- members of foreign trade delegations
- persons who are already registered under a Commonwealth scheme regulating certain professions (such as tax agents and customs brokers) who make representations to the government on behalf of clients, and
- service providers (such as lawyers, doctors, accountants and other service providers) who make occasional representations to the Government on behalf of clients in a way that is incidental to the provision of their professional services.
Detailed definitions of lobbying activities, lobbyist, client and Australian Government representative are contained in clause 3 of the Code.
02 6141 2666
Outside Australia: +61 2 6141 2666 (Operating Hours Monday – Friday 9am – 12pm and 2pm – 5pm Canberra time)
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