A Most Dangerous Combination

corruptionPublishing Ministerial diaries while concealing political donations is a corruption minefield, when combined.

I’m glad you asked “why?”

In Queensland, Cabinet Ministers publish their diaries.  If you don’t want it widely known that you’re meeting a Minister* about your business, it can only happen “informally”: for example at a political fundraising function or a social event.

At the same time, the maximum political donation that can be kept secret, has been lifted from $1,000 to $12,800, and caps to how much you may donate have been abolished.

It’s no secret that there have been recent political fundraiser dinners costing $5,000 and more per person, and other functions with higher prices to be seated with particular Ministers – all that’s secret is who paid and with whom they sat.

A lobbyist – smart, observant, politically partisan – might be remiss if they don’t advise a client that in lieu of declaring to the world they are meeting a Minister, they can go to dinner with them, now secretly, at a fundraising event.  They might also advise that it’s worth the higher “Ministerial” price, to maintain secrecy and to talk with the right person.

And regardless of what they discuss, it need not be characterised as a meeting nor diarised.

The public nature of diarised meetings, a business need to keep discussions secret, and the opportunity to pay for secret discussions, is a terrible and dangerous combination.


Former Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (and still a leadership aspirant) Dave Tollner said donations would open his door “if you ever need to talk to me about something”.  On radio, he said people who did not donate faced “a line-up at the door” and that “you have to start prioritising”.  Dave clearly needs to absorb this.

* or the Minister doesn’t want it to be widely known

About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; Ethical strategies and programs which get you where you need to go ... * Exceptional government & stakeholder relations, * Thriving governance systems, * Specialised project facilitation, * Inbound investment assistance, * Successful marketing, communications and PR campaigns ... and customised training in each of these areas.

Posted on October 29, 2014, in corruption, Culture, Democracy, how to lobby, Lobbying, Politics, Regulatory failure and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: