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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 2272

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that a considerable number of professional lobbyists have descended upon parliamentarians in recent years suggesting, persuading and influencing decisions of the Parliament? Has the Government given any consideration to the compilation of a register of all professional lobbyists and making public the names of such lobbyists, which action would be similar to the action which the United States Congress had to take to publicise the work of all full time lobbyists?

Senator MURPHY -I think that a good deal of consideration has been given to this question by all political parties. Certainly overseas, in more places than the United States, it has been felt that in the public interest something should be done about the registration of lobbyists, in their own interests as well as the interests of the nation. The lobbying extends across not only what might be thought to be some kind of illegitimate lobbying but also to what might be the proper representation of the interests of some group. I think it is becoming more and more apparent that all this ought to be put on a regular basis so that persons know with whom they are dealing and that there is proper regulation in this field. This has been found necessary in area after area. Firstly, in not so modern times, it was done with attorneys, then with real estate agents and then all sorts of other persons. These categories have moved into areas in which the public has an interest in knowing what happens.

Senator Wright - What is improper about that?

Senator MURPHY -Senator Wright suggests, I think, that there might be something improper in the approach that has been taken by the United States in regard to lobbyists I do not. I shall take into consideration the suggestion made by Senator Gietzelt.

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