The following questions and answers are intended to help lobbyists and Government Representatives understand their obligations under the Lobbyists Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB) and the operation of the Register of Lobbyists. The questions and answers do not form part of the Code itself. However, they serve to illustrate the application of the Code in certain circumstances.
Lobbyists assist individuals and organisations with advice on public policy processes and facilitate contact with relevant Government Representatives.
In performing this role, lobbyists have a duty to act ethically, transparently, according to the highest standards of professional conduct and in accordance with probity requirements.
The Victorian Government has established the Victorian Government Professional Lobbyist Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB) and the Register of Lobbyists, to ensure that contact between lobbyists and Government Representatives is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency, integrity and honesty.
The Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB) underpins the Register by defining lobbyists, clients, Government representatives and lobbying activities. It sets out the requirements for contact between lobbyists and Government representatives and indicates what will be publicly available on the register and the conditions for successful registration of lobbyists. A copy of the Code can be downloaded from this website.
If you are a lobbyist or a Government Representative who may be approached by a lobbyist, you should download the lobbying Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB) and read it.
The Register of Lobbyists will be a web-based public document that lists the lobbyists' details, including their clients.
A 'lobbyist' is defined in clause 3 of the Code to mean any person, company or organisation who conducts lobbying activities on behalf of a third party client or whose employees conduct lobbying activities on behalf of a third party client.
These lobbyists are sometimes known as consultant lobbyists, or third party lobbyists.
The definition of 'lobbying activities' is at question 6 below.
A lobbyist does not include any person, company or organisation engaging in lobbying activities on their own behalf rather than for a client.
The following are not defined as a lobbyist under the code:
If you meet the definition of a lobbyist, you will need to register. If you are excluded from the definition of a lobbyist, you do not need to register. If you are not sure after reading the definitions, please contact the Registrar at email@example.com or phone (03) 9651 5450.
'Lobbying activities' means communications (defined in clause 4.2 of the Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB)) with a Government Representative in an effort to influence Government decision-making, including the making or amendment of legislation, the development or amendment of a Government policy or program, the awarding of a Government contract or grant or the allocation of funding, but does not include:
A 'client' is a third party (individual, association, organisation or business) for whom the Lobbyist is currently retained to provide paid or unpaid services as a Lobbyist; and third parties for whom the Lobbyist has provided paid or unpaid services as a Lobbyist during the previous twelve months.
'Government Representative' means a Minister, Cabinet Secretary, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministerial Staff Member or person employed, contracted or engaged by a public sector agency.
The registration requirement commenced on 1 December 2009.
From 1 December 2009 lobbyists who are not on the Register will not be able to communicate with Government Representatives in their capacity as a lobbyist until they have registered.
When making an initial contact with a Government Representative about a particular issue on behalf of a third party for whom the lobbyist has provided paid or unpaid services, the lobbyist must inform the Government Representative:
A Government Representative shall not at any time knowingly and intentionally be a party to lobbying activity by:
You can check that the lobbyist and client are listed on the Register by accessing the Register at http://www.lobbyistsregister.vic.gov.au. While the onus is on the lobbyist to supply the required information, it would be prudent for a Government Representative to check that the details provided are correct, particularly if you have had no previous dealings with that lobbyist in relation to the particular client. If you have reason to believe that the lobbyist is a former Minister or public servant who is subject to the prohibition on lobbying activities in clause 7 of the Code, it would be prudent to seek an assurance from the lobbyist that the prohibition no longer applies.
If you are satisfied that the lobbyist and his or her client are properly listed on the Register of Lobbyists and the other requirements of clause 4.3 of the Code have been met, you can decide whether to participate in the lobbying activity.
There is no obligation to meet lobbyists. Being on the Register does not give a lobbyist a greater right of access to Government Representatives than any other person.
Lobbyists and Government representatives will frequently attend the same functions. Lobbyists wishing to engage in lobbying activities in such situations will need to comply with the requirements of clause 4.3 of the Code - that is, they will need to confirm that they and their client are on the Register and advise the nature of the matter they want to raise on behalf of their client.
It may be impractical for Government Representatives to check the Register of Lobbyists if they are not in their office. However, Government Representatives are entitled to accept statements by lobbyists that they and their clients are properly registered, particularly if they have had previous dealings with the lobbyist in question. On that basis, Government Representatives would not be in breach of the Code if they participated in discussions with lobbyists about their client's affairs.
If the Government Representative does not wish to participate in discussions with the lobbyist at a function outside the office, he or she can invite the lobbyist to make an appointment.
A lobbyist can apply online to be included on the Register. To do so, go to the website http://www.lobbyistsregister.vic.gov.au, click on 'How to Register' and then select the link to the online registration form.
Each individual who engages in lobbying activities must complete a statutory declaration confirming the matters set out in clause 9.1 of the Lobbying Code of Conduct (PDF, 42KB) before he or she will be included on the Register. The original of each statutory declaration is required before registrations can be finalised. Copies or faxed versions will not be accepted.
Completed statutory declarations should be mailed to:
Register of Lobbyists,
State Services Authority,
3 Treasury Place,
MELBOURNE VIC 3002
In the initial registration period, the State Services Authority (SSA) expects to finalise all applications for registration within five business days of receiving the original statutory declarations. The SSA expects to finalise subsequent applications for registration within two business days of receipt of statutory declarations.
If you are on the Commonwealth Register, the SSA will accept a certified copy of the Statutory Declaration completed for that process.
The Public Sector Standards Commissioner will not register as a lobbyist a person if he or she:
The Public Sector Standards Commissioner may at his or her discretion:
Yes, the Register will be/is available online from 1st December 2009 at http://www.lobbyistsregister.vic.gov.au or through the 'Register of Lobbyists' link on the State Services Authority website at http://www.ssa.vic.gov.au. The Register will display the following information:
Lobbyists are required to:
The date that a lobbyist's details were last updated is listed on the Register.
Requests to update your client information can be submitted using the online registration system. In the normal course of events, the Register will be updated within two business days of the request being made. However, if the Register needs to be updated urgently, you should advise the SSA by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and phone (03 9651 5450). The SSA will expedite the processing of the request and advise you of the outcome by email.
The responsible officer is a key position for email communications between the SSA and the lobbyist. These communications will include advice that an application for registration has been received, advice that registration has been approved or not approved, ongoing reminders that lobbyists' details must be confirmed as being up to date and other matters that might arise in connection with continuing registration.
In nominating a person as the responsible officer, it is in your interest to ensure that the person is at a level that he or she can deal with any communications from the SSA as appropriate. In the event of a change to the responsible officer, you will need to update their details, including their email address, to ensure that you continue to receive emails relating to the Register of Lobbyists.
To ensure that the information on the Register is current, lobbyists must confirm that their details are up to date within 10 business days of 30 June each year. Lobbyists must also provide new statutory declarations within 10 business days of 30 June each year for each individual lobbyist who is expected to engage in lobbying activities.
If lobbyists' details change throughout the year, these details should be updated on the register, no later than 10 business days after the change.
A lobbyist who does not confirm that his or her details are up to date within the period specified in clauses 5.3 and 5.4 may be removed from the Register.
The SSA will remind all lobbyists currently on the register of these requirements before the due date.
Breaches to the code should be reported to the Public Sector Standards Commissioner.
Email your question to: email@example.com, or
Phone: 03 9651 5450.
Section 7.1 of the code states: ï¿½Persons who cease to hold office as a Minister or Cabinet Secretary, shall not, for a period of 18 months after they cease to hold office, engage in lobbying activities relating to any matter with which they had official dealings in their last 18 months in office.ï¿½
Section 7.2 of the code states: ï¿½Persons who cease to hold office as a Parliamentary Secretary, shall not, for a period of 12 months after they cease to hold office, engage in lobbying activities relating to any matter with which they had official dealings in their last 12 months in office.ï¿½
Section 7.3 of the Code states: "Persons employed as Executives or Ministerial Officers under the Public Administration Act, shall not, for a period of 12 months after they cease their employment, engage in lobbying activities relating to any matter with which they had official dealings in their last 12 months of employment."
Under the Public Administration Act, this includes Executives in the Victorian Public Service and most Declared Authorities. The following Declared Authorities employ Executives under the Public Administration Act:
|Director of the Council of Adult Education||Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation|
|Chief Executive, Public Transport Corporation||Director, Royal Botanic Gardens|
|Public Transport Corporation||Chief Executive Officer, Zoological Parks and Gardens Board|
|Chief Executive, VicRoads||Chief Executive, EcoRecycle Victoria|
|VicRoads||Managing Director, Cinemedia|
|Marine Board of Victoria||Museum of Victoria|
|Building Control Commissioner||State Library of Victoria|
|Managing Director, Victoria Legal Aid||National Gallery of Victoria|
|Victoria Legal Aid||Director of the Board of Management and Chief Executive of the Victorian WorkCover Authority|
|Assistant Commissioner of Police||Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine|
|Director, Victoria State Emergency Service||The Australian Centre for the Moving Image|
|Chairman and Deputy Chairman, Country Fire Authority||Film Victoria|
|Director of Housing||Cenitex|
Page last revised: 1 November 2009