Recent jobs taken by former senior ministers Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne have brought on ire of the Australian Senate, which is now concluding an inquiry into the matter.
The testimony before the inquiry has been extraordinary: not just for what was said, but for what wasn’t — Australia’s lobbying laws are almost totally ineffective.
The Senate’s reaction reflects a wider sense in the electorate that elected officials may be putting their own interests ahead of the nation’s. As a result, trust in government and its institutions has been falling.
Moreover, Bishop and Pyne’s example reflects an increasingly common problem, in which senior decision makers go on to lobby for the same organisations they once made decisions about. This problem — called the “revolving door” — is severely undermining efforts to regulate corruption and lobbying, and little attention has been paid to the matter by our major parties.