Myths and the dirty truth of political lobbying

Former Labor Party state secretary Mike Smith, now a government relations specialist in Brisbane, is writing the definitive book on Australian lobbying — one blog post at a time.

I’m a lobbyist but I don’t appear overtly evil — I should do, according to some of my lefty friends.  Recent media demonstrates many journalists, too, think lobbying is inherently suspicious.

This suspicion clearly comes from misunderstanding the role of lobbyists.

There are lobbyists who inhabit darkened, smoke-filled rooms, and whisper in the ears of government: “Mate, mate, you’ve got to do a favour.” But they are in a minority, because that’s a stupid approach.

That cliché-ed picture leaves a lobbyist and their client in danger of the next decision-maker reversing the favour, or reporting the favour to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.  It’s a short-term, lazy and unethical approach that risks reputational destruction.

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