David Cameron’s adviser Lynton Crosby has been accused of exploiting weaknesses in transparency legislation to keep his Australian lobbying secret — with the same loophole featuring in the British Lobbying Bill. As Scrapbook reported earlier this month, Crosby is cashing in on his connections to the new right-wing government in his native Australia — with no less than 20 “new” clients suddenly appearing on the federal lobbying register.
It has since emerged that his firm CrosbyTextor, co-owned with pollster Mark Textor, has featured on the New South Wales state lobbying register since 2011 and its counterpart list in Western Australia also lists a number of clients for the firm. It was only in September when, as antipodean bloggers explain, that Crosby submitted his papers for the federal register:
“Crosby Textor has been able to avoid registering as a lobbyist until now because of a loophole in the lobbyist register laws. Those who seek to influence politicians outside of the government are not required to register and list their clients.”
A similar loophole features in the Lobbying Bill currently passing through the British parliament. Excluding lobbying of civil servants and special advisers from scrutiny — only ministers and permanent secretaries are covered — means just 1% of lobbyists need to register.
So has Lynton Crosby spoken to David Cameron about the Lobbying Bill?