Information for Australian Government Representatives
Who is covered
The Australian Government Lobbying Code of Conduct (the code) defines an Australian Government representative as:
- a minister or a parliamentary secretary (assistant minister)
- a person employed or engaged by a minister or a parliamentary secretary under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984
- an agency head or a person employed under the Public Service Act 1999
- a person engaged as a contractor or consultant by an Australian Government agency whose staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999
- a member of the Australian Defence Force.
Under the code, Australian Government representatives must:
- ensure that they are not knowingly or intentionally party to lobbying by a lobbyist who is not on the register
- report any breaches of the code to us.
In practice, this means you should:
- When contacted by a potential lobbyist, confirm whether they are a lobbyist and who they represent. If it is a third party client, ask who the client is and the matter the lobbyist wants to raise on the client’s behalf.
- Ask whether the lobbyist and their client are listed on the register. The code requires a lobbyist to explain if their client does not need to be listed.
- Check the register yourself. If the lobbyist and their client(s) are not listed, or if the lobbyist is a former Government representative lobbying on matters they had official dealings with while in their prohibtion period, decline the meeting and report the exchange to us.
Ensuring lobbyists are correctly registered
The code states that an Australian Government representative shall not knowingly and intentionally be a party to lobbying activities by:
- a lobbyist who is not on the Register of Lobbyists
- an employee of a lobbyist, or a contractor or person engaged by a lobbyist to carry out lobbying activities whose name does not appear in the lobbyist's details noted on the Register of Lobbyists in connection with the lobbyist, or
- a lobbyist or an employee of a lobbyist, or a contractor or person engaged by a lobbyist to carry out lobbying activities who, in the opinion of the government representative, has failed to inform the government representative, when making initial contact, of any of the following:
- 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 subsection 7(2) of the code
- the nature of the matters that their clients wish them to raise with government.
If you are concerned about a possible breach of the code, visit the Reporting a breach page.
Breaches of the code
A breach of the code can include:
- an unregistered lobbyist attempting to undertake lobbying activities
- a registered lobbyist failing to adhere to the principles of engagement – for example, by engaging in corrupt, dishonest or illegal behaviour or by failing to keep their lobbying activity separate from any involvement they may have with a political party
- a former government representative engaging in lobbying on prohibited matters within their prohibition period
- a registered lobbyist representing a client not listed on the register
- a registered lobbyist with incomplete information on the register.
Australian Government representatives must report suspected breaches to us through the register.
Our Secretary may remove a lobbyist who has breached the code from the register.
Our Secretary may also decide not to register or re-register a person who has committed a serious breach of the code, for a period of up to 3 months. A serious breach includes unregistered lobbying and breaching the principles of engagement with Australian Government representatives.
If you are an Australian Government representative who no longer holds office or has ceased employment with the Australian Government, you are considered a former government representative.
Former government representatives may need to register as a lobbyist if they have contact with Australian Government representatives to conduct lobbying activities.
The code prohibits certain former government representatives from engaging in particular kinds of lobbying activities for a specified period of time.
To find out more, visit the Information for lobbyists page.
Get more information
To find out more about the code and the register, read our factsheets:
- Factsheet 1 – Fast facts
- Factsheet 2 – Information for Government representatives and Checklist
- Factsheet 3 – Information for lobbyists
You can also contact us directly:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call: 02 6141 2666 (weekdays 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm AEST)
- International call: +61 2 6141 2666 (weekdays 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm AEST)