Objective: To explore the incidence of the ‘revolving door’ phenomenon, whereby individuals move between positions in government and positions in the Australian alcohol, food and gambling industries.
Methods: This exploratory study was composed of two substudies: 1) an analysis of existing Australian Government Register of Lobbyists databases and related social network content; and 2) a series of 28 in-depth semistructured interviews with key informants discussing industry tactics for influencing policy, of which 15 interviewees explicitly discussed the revolving door phenomenon.
Results: More than one-third of people registered on the Australian Government Register of Lobbyists were previously government representatives. We report on several examples of government employees going on to work directly for alcohol, food or gambling industries, some taking employment directly related to their previous employment in government. Key informants highlight the potential risks this poses to good governance.
Conclusion: This study suggests that the revolving door that sees people move between roles in the Australian Government and alcohol, food and gambling industries is commonplace, creating a range of ethical and moral problems, and posing a risk to public health.
- More than one-third of people registered on the Australian Government Register of Lobbyists have previously been government representatives
- The political ‘revolving door’ between government and the alcohol, food and gambling industries potentially undermines good public health policy by creating an imbalance between the infuence of industry and that of public health advocacy
- Mechanisms for ensuring healthy and transparent governance need to be established, potentially including revisions to Ministerial codes and public servant conditions, and a federal anticorruption body