Guide for lobbyists and registrants

Guidance
Provides an overview of the legislation and details on how to register.

In 2016, the Integrity (Lobbyists) Act 2016 was passed to:

  • provide a publicly available register of lobbyists
  • provide a code of conduct with which registered lobbyists must comply when dealing with government
  • prohibit lobbyists from agreeing to receive payments or other rewards dependent on the outcome of lobbying activities.

This page provides an overview of the legislation and details on how to register.

What is lobbying?

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Lobbying activity is communicating with a government representative for the purposes of influencing government decision making. 

Who is a lobbyist?

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A lobbyist is a person, body corporate, unincorporated association, partnership or firm accredited as a lobbyist in Western Australia.

Who is a government representative?

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A government representative includes ministers and ministerial officers, parliamentary secretaries and all other public sector employees including chief executive officers. 

What is not considered lobbying?

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  •  
  • Petitioning either House of Parliament or the Governor.
  • Communicating with any committees, including joint committees, of either house of Parliament.
  • Communicating with a government minister or parliamentary secretary on a matter not within their responsibilities in those positions, but rather in their role as a member of Parliament.
  • Communicating as part of a ‘grassroots’ campaign, provided the communication is not done for financial or other reward.
  • Responding to a call for submissions, tenders, expressions of interest and similar processes.
  • Providing information requested by a government representative.
  • Communicating for the purposes of making an application under a written law where the application is decided by a government representative or the Governor.
  • Making a verbal or written statement to the public or to a section of the public (such as a local community event or other gathering open to the public).
  • Communicating on behalf of another person about a personal matter which includes anything related to the person’s personal, family and household affairs and not related to business and commercial activity.

The full list of activities not considered lobbying can be read in Section 4 Part 3 of the Act.

Lobbyist Code of Conduct

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The Lobbyist Code of Conduct incorporates behavioural and accountability standards with which lobbyists are required by legislation to comply.

It prohibits individuals and firms from engaging in lobbying on behalf of third parties unless they have been accepted onto the Register of Lobbyists.

The Public Sector Commissioner has the authority to refuse, cancel or restrict a registration if non-compliance or unethical conduct is detected.

What you must do as an accredited lobbyist

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When making initial contact with a government representative on behalf of a third party client for whom you are providing paid or unpaid services, you must inform the government representative:

  • that you are listed on the Register of Lobbyists in WA
  • if you are an employee or person engaged by a registered person
  • that you are making contact on behalf of a client/s
  • the name of the client/s
  • the nature of your client’s or clients’ issue/s.

Offences under the Act

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Lobbying by unregistered people

You must be accepted onto the Register for Lobbyists to be an accredited lobbyist to the WA Government.

It is an offence for individuals and firms to lobby government representatives on behalf of third parties if not on the register. A fine of up to $10,000 may be imposed.

A government representative must report to the Public Sector Commission the details of any breach they become aware of.

People who are not able to register

A person cannot be registered or listed as a lobbyist if they hold a ‘relevant office’ or less than 12 months have lapsed since they last held a relevant office.

A relevant office includes:

  • a member of either house of Parliament
  • a senator for Western Australia in the Australian Senate
  • a member of the Australian House of Representatives for an electoral division in WA
  • a senior public sector executive (as defined under the Act)
  • the chief executive officer of a government trading enterprise.

The full list of ‘relevant officers’ is available in Section 5 of the Integrity (Lobbyists) Regulations 2016.

In exceptional circumstances, the Public Sector Commissioner has the discretion to waive this disqualification requirement.

Success fees

Any person or organisation on the register are prohibited from receiving success fees for lobbying.  

A success fee for lobbying activity is any commission, payment and other reward which depends directly or indirectly on the outcome of lobbying activity, or the decision about a matter for which the lobbying was undertaken.

If you receive a success fee that breaches the Act, an amount equal to the success fee received by you may be recovered in court.

Additionally, registered lobbyists who accept a success fee may be removed from the register.

Offence to supply false or misleading information

It is an offence to provide false or misleading information to the Public Sector Commissioner which can be punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

This includes:

  • giving information that you know to be false or misleading
  • failing to give information that is materially relevant
  • omitting information from any document or communication that may mislead.

Further information is in the Act.

How to register

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What information is required to register?

Use the online registration form to submit your details.

To register, you must provide:

  • business registration details of the registrants including Australian Business Number (ABN), names of owners, partners and major shareholders
  • names and position titles of all people employed, contracted and otherwise engaged by the lobbyist to carry out lobbying activities
  • names of third parties for whom the lobbyist is currently providing paid or unpaid services
  • names of people for whom the lobbyist has provided paid or unpaid services in the previous 3 months.

All of this information is published on the register once registration is approved.

As part of the registration process, a statutory declaration must be provided by all individuals who have contact with government representatives on behalf of third party clients. All sections of the statutory declaration must be completed and witnessed by an appropriately qualified person.  

The statutory declaration must disclose:

  • any conviction of an offence punishable for a period of 2 years’ imprisonment or more in Australia or elsewhere (excluding spent convictions)
  • any charge or conviction of an offence which involved dishonesty received as an adult in the last 10 years
  • involuntarily removal from a lobbyist register (or equivalent) of another Australian jurisdiction
  • suspension, discipline, disqualification, involuntarily deregistration or termination of membership to:
    • any professional or industry body
    • the State Administrative Tribunal of WA or similar body in any other Australian jurisdiction
    • the Supreme Court of WA or similar body in any other Australian jurisdiction
  • that the applicant does not currently hold and has not held for any period of time within the last 12 months a ‘relevant office’ as defined in the Act.

In addition, you must provide the name, telephone number and email address of a person the Public Sector Commission can contact about the business's inclusion on the register, if required. This person does not need to be one of the named lobbyists. The person’s details are not published on the Register of Lobbyists however the details may be liable for disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

You must also acknowledge and agree to the Code of Conduct as part of your registration. If you are the business’s contact person registering on behalf of others, you must provide all others with a copy of the code and confirm acceptance on their behalf. The Integrity (Lobbyists) Act 2016 is another important source of information.

Updating the register

The Code of Conduct requires lobbyists to update their details as changes occur, and confirm their details at the end of each quarter regardless of any changes.

Your contact person receives instructions on how to keep your information up to date.

In the event of any change to their details, all people and organisations registered must submit updated details to the register within 10 business days.

Each quarter registered people and organisations must also provide confirmation that their registration details are up to date. This confirmation is required within 10 business days of 30 March, 30 June, 30 September and 30 December each year.

Registration may lapse if the updated confirmation is not provided within these timeframes.

Alternatively, email lobbyistsregister@psc.wa.gov.au with updates, queries and requests for information.

More information

If you have difficulties using the form or any other queries, email lobbyistsregister@psc.wa.gov.au or telephone (08) 6552 8550.

Page reviewed 30 November 2021