Open door policy fresh air for lobbyists

29/10/2008 - 22:00


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IN with the new and out with the old.That is how outsiders expect the world of lobbying works when a government changes.

Open door policy fresh air for lobbyists

IN with the new and out with the old.

That is how outsiders expect the world of lobbying works when a government changes.

Certainly one of the few operating lobbyists with an obvious Liberal pedigree, former Liberal state director Paul Everingham, says he's as busy as he has ever been.

There is also a smattering of appointments such as Norm Haywood, a long-term adviser to the Liberal Party in WA, who joined Peter Clough's Enhance Corporate outfit, and Troy Buswell's former chief-of-staff John Preston, who has gone to CPR, formerly headed by new Kwinana MLA Roger Cook and now run in WA by a former adviser to Clive Brown, Daniel Smith.

Such moves would appear to be politically strategic.

But many in the industry claim that the common perception of political bias is wrongly based on simplistic views about what they do, partly coloured by the antics of Brian Burke.

Much of the consulting, they say, is advising business on how government works and is generally not based on personal contacts.

And even those firms considered to have strong Labor links say business is booming, with clients that had given up on the last government reviving their efforts to knock on doors.

"Everyone is desperate to bang on the door of the new government, so we are very busy," Anne Burns, a principal of Halden Burns, said.

Ms Burns said the new government appeared to have an open door policy, which was a positive development for many businesses that previously felt shut out of the system.

"I am very impressed with the preparedness to engage," she told WA Business News.

CPR WA general manager Daniel Smith echoed these opinions.

"In truth we had some clients that had given up trying to seek outcomes with the past government and are becoming re-energised," Mr Smith said. "People are pretty keen to meet the new ministers and curious about their advisers and what drives them."

He said many in business were keen to present their points of view at a time when they hoped members of the new government would be most receptive to new ideas.

But, Mr Smith said much of the work his firm does remains directed at technical processes overseen by public service, dealing with a bureaucracy that remains largely the same


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