Ex-ICAC commissioner calls for lobby law overhaul

CORRUPTION buster David Ipp has called for New South Wales lobbying laws to apply to everyone who lobbies politicians - not just professionals.

Speaking in Brisbane yesterday, Mr Ipp, the former Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner, said significant holes remained in laws after the NSW Government failed to adopt some ICAC recommendations.

Mr Ipp said ICAC had called for lobbyist laws to include individuals as well as registered professional lobbyists.

He said under existing laws if groups wish to lobby without it being declared they speak to politicians personally.

"There is a huge gap in any lobbying regime that does not govern lobbying by persons who are not professional lobbyists," he said.

"Those who wish to lobby secretly simply do the lobbying themselves. Or they employ somebody who's not a professional lobbyist - sometimes a lawyer."

Mr Ipp said the loophole, which the NSW Government had refused to close, had "significant potential to conceal corrupt behaviour".

"One is driven to infer that they wish to leave open this cavernous loophole," he said.

"They seem to have a strong desire to do business secretly with certain people or entities who lobby.

"What does this say about the Australian ideal about the fair go for all?"

He said lobbying was a useful and constructive part of politics, however, when done in secret could lead to corruption.

"But where there is harm is where it is done secretly," he said.

"Because when you do it secretly there is a potential for corruption.

"You don't know what rewards are being given. And even if now rewards are being given once it's done secretly there is suspicion. And where there is suspicion faith in government falls."

- APN NEWSDESK



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