Category Archives: Government regulation

Happy Anniversary To Us!

_LDP8380-cropped and smallAlmost exactly a year ago, Stephen Robertson and Mike Smith relaunched Ethical Consulting Services as a partnership.

We’re still having fun helping clients with

  • Governance and meeting skills
  • Government and stakeholder relations
  • Project and inbound investment facilitation
  • Branding, marketing, campaigns, and communication

… and training in any of the above!

 

 

How To Lobby

demandingA great resource if you want something from Government – our updated* directory of How To Lobby articles**, published over the last thirty months, and indexed by topics.

Click one of these links to take you to that topic/heading:

      1. Why
      2. Who Does It?
      3. Reality Bites
      4. Strategy
      5. The Basics
      6. Targeting
      7. Policy Processes – What You MUST Know
      8. Getting Ready
      9. The Meeting
      10. What To Ask For
      11. How To Ask For It
      12. When To Ask
      13. Specialties

Why

Why Lobby? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-r

“Why Lobby?” Encore http://wp.me/p4xOhB-A

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Who Does It

Who’s a Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-N

Who’s Your Best Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-23

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Reality Bites

Lobbying: The Dirty Truth https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/lobbying-the-dirty-truth/

Myths & Legends of Lobbying https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/myths-lobbying/

Dogbert Does Lobbying
Regulating Lobbyists: Hardly https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/regulating-lobbyists-hardly/

Australian Lobbying: Credibility Fail https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/australian-lobbying-credibility-fail/

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Strategy

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There! https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/dont-just-do-something/

Strategy & Delusion https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/strategy-delusion/

DON’T Increase Awareness https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/dont-increase-awareness/

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burke-grillThe Basics

Lobbying: 6 Things to Know https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/6-lobbying-things/

Lobbyists Do WHAT? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/lobbyists-do-what/

Lobbying is Marketing https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/lobbying-is-marketing/

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Targeting

“Get Me The Premier!” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/get-me-the-premier/

Who’s the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/who-decision-maker/

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Policy Processes – What You MUST Know

Mysterious & Mysteriouser: How Did THAT Happen?  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/mysterious-mysteriouser/

“So When WILL They Decide???” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/when-will-they-decide/

From Althaus, Bridgman and Davis

From Althaus, Bridgman and Davis

How’s Your Rat King? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/rat-king/

The Uber-Rat-King https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/the-uber-rat-king/

What IS A “Policy Instrument,” Anyway? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/what-is-policy-instrument/

Sax vs. Cymbals https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/sax-vs-cymbals/

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Getting Ready To Lobby

Lobbying Labor’s Queensland Government: How? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/lobbying-labors-queensland-government-how/

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The Meeting

How to Get That Meeting https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/how-to-get-that-meeting/

What if You Can’t Connect with the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/cant-reach-decision-makers/

When you meet the Minister … https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/when-you-meet-the-minister/

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What To Ask For

Persuading Government: What You Say  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/persuading-government-what-you-say/

What Makes A Policy Good? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/policy-good/

Make Your “Ask” Feasible https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/make-your-ask-feasible/

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agressive-manHow To Ask For It

Connecting with Decision-Makers https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/connect-decision-makers/

Tell Government a Story!  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/story-to-government/

Motivating & Persuading https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/motivating-persuading/

Persuading Government: How To Say It  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/persuading-government-how-to-say-it/

The Talking Dead: Say This & Your Project Dies  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/the-talking-dead/

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When To Ask

Election Time: Early Birds Get Worms!  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/elections-lobbying-early-birds/

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Specialties

Crisis Management 101 https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/crisis-management-101/

And now, over to you:

What other topics would you like to see covered?  What have you struggled with in the past, when looking for decisions from Government?

 

* With more content than the version published in 2015!
** There will be more!
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Last Week in Queensland – 22 February 2016

last-week-logo-2A busy Parliamentary week has generated plenty of political news*!

Governing

lawrence-springborg-2The Opposition

Politics

Community

jackie-tradEconomy and Infrastructure

parl houseParliament

Sleeper Issues?

 

 

*     We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.

 

Last Week in Queensland – 15 February 2016

last-week-logo-2The anniversary of the election of the Palaszczuk Government continues to generate plenty of media coverage, as do debates about the most appropriate policy response to alcohol-fuelled violence – read all about it in our weekly summary of last week’s news items, here.

You can get these updates every week without effort, by subscribing to our blog – there’s a box on the top right corner of this very page, immediately underneath our logo, that is just yearning for your email address!

 

 

Last Week in Queensland – 1 February 2016

last_week_in_qld_160125What happened in Queensland last week?

Ethical Consulting Services are each Monday publishing a short weekly summary drawn from major media sources, of major political and related news from the previous 7 days in Queensland.

You can access the second edition here – we hope you find it useful and we hope you will let us know what you think!

We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t; it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the mainstream media links will require subscriptions before you can read content.

 

 

The Talking Dead: What NOT To Say To Government

walking_dead_smallIf you don’t have a good understanding of Government and Opposition, it is easy to put your foot wrong and wreck your chances of a successful discussion, when you’re pressing the Government to support your project or policy proposal.

Here’s a few thoughts about the wrong thing:

  • Absolute Power – Not every Member of Parliament or public servant has the power to do everything (read more here) and if you ask for something they can’t do, then you look like a dill; for example, legislation may proscribe taking certain actions or making certain decisions – you need to know this before you ask;
  • Power Without Glory – The Doctrine of the Separation of Powers is a special and high level constraint on powers saying, amongst other things, that Ministers must not usurp the powers of the Parliament or the Courts; in Australia the Doctrine is imposed by convention*, whilst in other countries it doesn’t exist or is imposed by laws or their constitution;
  • Game of Thrones – Public servants and Members of Parliament always have limits on what they may do, imposed by where they are placed in their respective structures, will rarely be interested in interfering in something that is someone else’s role, and rarely have the capacity to do that easily;
  • CodeBreaker – All members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary have codes prescribing how they should work; only the most courageous** amongst them will contemplate stepping outside those codes, and only those prepared to risk prison will propose they should;
  • You’re Awful, Muriel – You must start a discussion by presuming your audience knows what they are doing and why, even when you know they are entirely wrong: nothing kills your chance of a productive dialogue quicker than implying or saying directly that a Member of Parliament or public servant doesn’t know what they are talking about, or has been incompetent; you have to find a different way: you must structure the discussion so they see your alternative as better***;
  • Lie To Me – Never tell a lie, never assert anything is a fact when there’s any doubt, and never leave out anything important; Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is your only option, to ensure credibility; telling the truth means you must be very, very sure of your facts, and keep facts entirely separate from opinions;
  • Sin Of Omission – it’s worth repeating: never leave out anything important; recognise, too, that you are not necessarily the best judge of what’s important – if there is any chance your audience might see something as important, you must at least mention it in passing;
  • Censored Man with blue tape on his mouth. Isolated on white.Rush To Judgement – Opinions from non-experts are pretty worthless, so don’t offer them unless they are considered, evidence-based expert judgements;
  • Don’t Mention The War – Public servants usually operate impartially, and Members of Parliament are experts, so don’t talk about politics unless they invite it – and even then, exercise extreme caution that you tread on no toes;
  • The Ant Bully – When you threaten or bully, explicitly or implicitly, you’re saying you lack the facts, lack a good argument, lack ethical standards and maturity, can’t be trusted to stick to a deal, and want to be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper;
  • The Guru – keep your ego in check; if too much of what you say is about you, you’re not sufficiently focussed on how your proposal benefits the Government and the public, and you will be building resistance as you build perceptions of your ego;
  • The Killing Season – don’t denigrate your opponents or competitors, because you’ll always look like a bully or slimy, egotistical or selfish, and more interested in your own advancement than in good policy.

 

* One of the biggest flaws in Australian democracy is that this doctrine is not strongly mandated by State and Federal constitutions, which allows authoritarian Governments to accrue too much power at the expense of liberty and democracy.  But that discussion is for another time!

** Courageous in the “Yes, Prime Minister” sense:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_to_the_People_(Yes,_Prime_Minister)

*** Mike Smith is incredibly grateful to then-Northern Territory Labor Leader Maggie Hickey for teaching this valuable lesson!

 

 

Queensland Premier Palaszczuk: Investing in Merit?

seesawIf you’ve ever watched the filling of Cabinet advisor jobs after an election, you would be aghast: across all political parties, narrow networks, factional partisans, warlord loyalists, mates of mates, and the staff from the previous (losing) Government of the same Party, are usually the principal sources of political advisors.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has insisted on a new way: she’s demanded competitive, merit-based* selection: the new Government has advertised senior Ministerial advisor roles via Seek**, and Ministers were initially allowed to employ a small number of temporary staff only.

One of the advantages of the usual system is speed: a Ministerial office can be up and running in a week; one of the disadvantages of merit selection plus competition is that it can’t work very fast.

How well this innovation works in the medium and long term remains to be seen, and that will be the test of the Premier’s innovation, but some of the new Ministerial offices have been struggling to respond effectively to correspondence and phone calls, until they secure more staff.

Boding well for the long term and tending to validate the new system, I’m aware of several excellent Ministerial staffing appointments that couldn’t have been made under the old patronage system.

 

* See www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/P/PublicServA08.pdf, s27 onwards ( – this link is now fixed, I trust)
** It’s reported that the new Government was swamped with 5,000 applications for the various jobs.

Regulating Lobbyists: Hardly

Teapot Dome Scandal

Teapot Dome Scandal

Australian State and Federal Governments pretend (e.g. here) to regulate lobbyists: all they do is create red tape, illusion and loopholes.

The biggest issue is that most lobbyists aren’t regulated at all: professions and in-house lobbyists are not, and only consultant lobbyists are covered.

Arguably, a lawyer, accountant or development planner who lobbies on behalf of a client’s needs isn’t a lobbyist according to Australia’s Governments.  Most members of those professions refuse to register as lobbyists or apply lobbyist codes.

Full time lobbyists employed by corporations, or their Directors, or representative bodies like the Australian Medical Association or Queensland Resources Council, are unambiguously not covered by lobbyist regulation – Australian Governments refuse to regulate them.

In all jurisdictions the lobbyist “Code of Conduct” or its equivalent is generally so lowest-common-denominator that it imposes very few ethical obligations beyond those self-imposed by most lobbyists before codes were made.

The two biggest omissions:

  • There’s no obligation on lobbyists to ensure their lobbying reflects compliance with Public sector codes of ethics; and
  • There’s no obligation for lobbyists to ensure everything they say must be up to date or comprehensive – that is, they are allowed to conceal things when they lobby.

These are absolutely not partisan defects – Governments of all shades have got it wrong.