Lobby laws make chief of staff ultimate gatekeepers in Queensland politics

By Melissa Coade

June 28, 2022

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk commissioned the review in February. (AAP Image/Darren England)

A change to laws in Queensland governing the way lobbyists, consultants, advisers, strategic communications and marketing advisers deal with government aims to lift openness and transparency. 

Ministerial chiefs of staff (COS) will now be the ultimate gatekeepers for lobbyists, with the new laws requiring all inquiries to a minister’s office to be put to the COS in writing. COS may delegate the role to a senior adviser, at their discretion.

Ministerial diaries will keep a record of meetings, as normal, and will include the subject matter of the meeting.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued a statement on Monday explaining the new rules would strengthen what she regarded as some of the ‘strongest laws in Australia’. 

“We already have some of the strongest transparency laws, including the publishing of ministerial diaries.

“This is something that does not exist with the federal government,” Palaszczuk said, noting the rules would also apply to the leader of the opposition.

“I have said for some time that the rules surrounding lobbyists needed to change and they have.”

The new laws will also require any lobbying firm to register as a lobbyist. Administrative staff will be excluded from this rule. 

State government departments will continue to maintain a Register of Lobbyist contacts, including the subject matter of meetings. 

Meanwhile, the Queensland Integrity Commissioner, Dr Nikola Stepanov, will maintain a public register of lobbyists.

“We do not just accept these changes, we embrace them,” the premier said.

The new lobbyist laws will be implemented by the Queensland government in addition to any recommendations flowing from a review into the Queensland Public Service, due before the end of the month. The premier added the changes were consistent with Kevin Yearbury’s strategic review of the Integrity Commissioner’s functions.

“These improvements promote greater transparency,” Palaszczuk said. 


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