Journal article

Regulating the influencers: the evolution of lobbying regulation in Australia

Political corruption Regulation of lobbying Code of conduct Government regulatory policy Lobbying Political influence Australia

Although lobbying is integral to democratic representation, there are concerns regarding the undue influence of professional lobbyists, which may ultimately lead to corrupt conduct by lobbyists and/or officials. In recent times, there has been an increasing emphasis on legal regulation in order to address the democratic risks of lobbying. This article develops a conceptual framework to evaluate lobbying regulation based on the form of regulation, the standards it imposes, and compliance processes. It explores the history and evolution of lobbying regulation in Australian federal and state jurisdictions. The author identifies three distinct phases of lobbying regulation in Australia: the initial phase of minimalist executive regulation; stronger executive regulation of third party lobbyists; and finally, the rise of legislative regulation of third party lobbyists. It is shown that within the Australian federation, there is evidence of policy transfer across jurisdictions, as well as disparate regulatory innovations in the standards of enforcement and compliance processes. However, lobbying regulation remains narrowly focussed due to the effective advocacy of lobbyists.

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