Public Statement March 9, 2024

My submission to the inquiry into access to Australian Parliament House by lobbyists has been accepted and authorised for publication by the Committee, as submission 42. I am now free to circulate my submission. For further information about the inquiry, including access to the published submissions, please visit the inquiry webpage

To: Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees
[email protected]

Dear Committee members,

Inquiry into access to Australian Parliament House by lobbyists

Thank you to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee for the opportunity to make this submission to the above-named inquiry.

I make this submission as a public policy advocate with decades-long experience in climate change, clean energy, and sustainable finance. I have held a lobby pass for Australian Parliament House for several organisations including but not limited to the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Climate Institute, and the Investor Group on Climate Change.

In May 2022, I ran as a community independent in the federal seat of Bradfield and I intend to stand again in the next federal election.

I remain deeply committed to electing to the parliament more non-party MPs with a view to breaking the hold the parties have on delivering effective climate policy for our nation. Those with an interest in policies that promulgate fossil fuel profits remain donors to major parties directly and indirectly through various fundraising and lobby groups. The influence these groups have on the making of public policy is disproportionate and often, not in the public interest.

After 30 years working outside of the Australian Parliament seeking to influence the people within it, I now believe that being elected and, potentially, joining committees like yours, may well lead to a greater chance of achieving effective climate policy. Our climate crisis is not just because of the fossil fuel lobby; it’s because the institutions and systems that underpin our democracy are no longer fit for purpose and need revising.

The health of our democracy relies on the trust that exists between our Parliament and the people that it is designed to serve. Whilst there remains special access and secret meetings that drive political decisions benefiting the powerful few and donors, and not the broader public, our democracy remains weak. It’s important our regulators consider how to strengthen it.

I urge the Committee to earnestly consider and recommend:

  1. All lobbyists log their activities on the public lobbying register.
  2. Ministers and their staff publish their diaries to show meetings that they’ve had with lobbyists and special interest groups.
  3. Ministers and senior public servants wait at least 18 months before moving from a government role into a lobbying position.

I wish the Committee well with its deliberations and determination.

Nicolette Boele, February 7, 2024