Sydney (Press Release): Opposition Leader John Robertson has today called on Premier Barry O’Farrell to ban Liberal Party officials from being able to serve as lobbyists in NSW.
Such a ban is needed to restrict the activities of powerbrokers like Joseph Tannous – a member of the NSW Liberal Party State Executive and owner and director of lobby firm 1st State.
Mr Tannous has previously boasted of leveraging his Liberal connections to obtain results for clients.
Michael Photios, another major lobbyist through his firm PremierState, has today reportedly resigned his post as Vice President of the NSW Liberal Party so he can lobby the Abbott Government federally.
Mr Robertson’s call for the Premier to act follows reports that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is considering instituting such a ban in Canberra.
“Barry O’Farrell has created a situation where Liberal Party powerbrokers moonlight as lobbyists and work in the backrooms of his government to win favorable decisions for their clients,” Mr Robertson said.
“This practice undermines the public’s faith in politics. It is a corruption risk that must be terminated.
“For the Premier to prove that Liberal Party-aligned lobbyists aren’t influencing decisions in his government, he needs to ban characters like Mr Tannous from even getting through the doors.
“These individuals can be senior Liberal Party officials or O’Farrell Government lobbyists. Not both.”
This year, Mr Robertson has announced the New Standard – the strongest ethics reforms in NSW political history. The New Standard (see attached) includes comprehensive financial disclosure requirement for MPs and their spouses and dependents. Ministers will also be required to publish every meeting or contact they have with a lobbyist, MP or business relating to a pending commercial decision.
“My approach to corruption is one of zero-tolerance and it’s high time the Premier stopped dragging the chain,” Mr Robertson said.
“Banning Liberal Party aligned lobbyists is the first step to cleaning up the system.
“I also renew my call for the Premier to pass bipartisan legislation so the New Standard I have announced is applied to all MPs, not just Labor.”