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Australia Who are Tasmania's political lobbyists?

00:16  22 october  2020
00:16  22 october  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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A ' lobbyist ' is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby .[8]. In pre-modern political systems, royal courts provided incidental opportunities for gaining the ear of monarchs and their councillors.

The Tasmanian Government is the executive authority of the state of Tasmania , Australia. The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the House of Assembly

a man and a woman in glasses looking at the camera: Brad Stansfield, former chief of staff to Will Hodgman, is now a lobbyist with a public relations firm. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC NEWS Brad Stansfield, former chief of staff to Will Hodgman, is now a lobbyist with a public relations firm. (ABC News)

They are the people paid to influence government policies, and they are growing in number in Tasmania — but the amount of power they wield while largely shielded from scrutiny has sparked fears that "the boys are back in town".

More than 60 businesses are listed on Tasmania's lobbyist register, ranging from a firm headed by former federal defence minister Christopher Pyne to the local multimedia monolith Font Public Relations, which boasts the Government's own former senior staff in its arsenal.

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The Aboriginal Tasmanians (Palawa kani: Palawa or Pakana) are the Aboriginal people of the Australian state of Tasmania , located south of the mainland.

Who are the top lobbyists in the world? This includes the most prominent lobbyists , living and dead, both in America and abroad. Part of famou lobbyist groups, the following names might sound familiar. From reputable, prominent, and well known lobbyists to the lesser known lobbyists of today

The register reveals which businesses have hired a firm with the intent to meet with and influence Tasmanian Government ministers, but it does not reveal if or when that lobbying occurs, why a business is lobbying, or which ministers are being lobbied.

And while meetings between Cabinet MPs and lobbyists are regulated, there is no clear code of conduct for those firms targeting Labor, Green or independent MPs, or any member of the Legislative Council — all of whom can amend and introduce legislation.

"We allow lobbyists in our democratic system, which is not to say it doesn't raise questions of democratic process," Australian National University lobbying expert John Warhurst said.

"The lobbyists' services are available mainly on a fee-for-service basis, and therefore one particular danger is it benefits those who can afford to pay."

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The history of Tasmania begins at the end of the most recent ice age (approximately 10,000 years ago) when it is believed that the island was joined to the Australian mainland.

RSPCA Tasmania (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tasmania ) is a charity and law enforcement organisation in Tasmania , Australia. It runs and maintains three shelters for the rehoming of animals, a dog boarding service as well as several other programs.

As the stench around the Tamar Valley pulp mill infiltrated the halls of Tasmania's parliament in 2008, former Labor premier David Bartlett introduced the lobbyist register as one of 10 initiatives aimed at restoring trust in the state's democratic institutions.

Speaking this week, he said it was time to revisit the measures he spearheaded, including Right to Information laws, and to finally introduce one he regrets failing to include political donation reform.

"I think we're teetering back on the edge of the place we were 10, 12 years ago when we decided to bring in this 10-point plan because we've seen recent elections where really significant political donations have had a significant impact on the outcome of the election," Mr Bartlett said.

"As soon as we start to degrade trust in our democracy and our democratic institutions, it's time to look at these safeguards again."

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Lobbying is the act of as trying to influence a politician or public official on an issue. Anybody can lobby Congress. It is guaranteed in the First Amendment that all Americans have the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Third party lobbyists represent only a small part of the lobbying industry and sanctions for violation of the *Third party lobbyists (cannot be members of political party executive) ethical standards in code applied Tasmania August 2009. *Code, register announced by government *Secretary, Department

Hodgman, Gutwein insiders now in public relations

As the number of registered lobbyists in Tasmania grows, the institutions Mr Bartlett created to keep an eye on MPs, heads of agencies and public servants are struggling with under-resourcing.

Businesses with their own in-house lobbyists, activist groups like The Wilderness Society and unions are largely exempt from joining the register.

High-profile local businesses that are included are, for the most part, represented by Font Public Relations or former Labor premier Paul Lennon's business Parramul.

Mr Lennon's clients include gaming and hospitality giant Federal Group, the University of Tasmania and Neville Smith Forest Products.

Font PR's list is too extensive to publish in full, but ranges from short-stay accommodation provider Airbnb to homelessness organisation Colony 47, as well as the Catholic and Anglican churches, and peak bodies such as the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Master Builders Tasmania and the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania.

The firm is headed by Becher Townshend with partners Brad Stansfield, who was the long-term chief of staff to former premier Will Hodgman, and Brad Nowland, who was current Premier Peter Gutwein's deputy chief of staff. Mr Hodgman opened the Font offices last year.

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Font — at that time headed only by Mr Townshend — developed the Love Your Local campaign, associated with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, during the 2018 state election.

The THA also directly contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Tasmanian Liberals ahead of the last state election and received an almost $7 million pledge from the State Government soon after.

A Government spokeswoman said the funding was given to the THA with "key requirements" attached.

"Annual project management plans are developed each year that outline the scope of work and deliverables for each program, including KPIs, with detailed reporting to the department outlining activities and initiatives completed," she said.

More recently, Font was paid by the state to assist with the "Stay Home, Save Lives" coronavirus campaign, while also representing groups like the Tasmanian Small Business Council and Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, both of whom eventually called for an easing of some coronavirus restrictions.

The firm's clients, including Master Builders Tasmania, also celebrated the State Government's announcement of a construction-led economic recovery plan.

Mr Stansfield said there were no issues with conflicts of interest, and said any potential conflicts would be dealt with appropriately.

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He argued the lobbyist register provided enough transparency as it was.

"I think the system works well, I haven't seen any evidence that it's broken so I don't think we should be going around fiddling with it and changing it," Mr Stansfield said.

"What's important is to have a clear understanding of who people represent."

West Australian shipbuilder Austal is another of Font's clients.

In September this year, Labor MP Shane Broad asked Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson whether he had met with Font in relation to the new Spirit of Tasmania ships — which the Premier had declared would be built in Australia, instead of overseas, against the advice of the TT-Line board.

Mr Ferguson told Parliament: "I will answer the question very directly: I am not in contact with Austal nor Font PR".

Within half an hour — "knowing how suspicious members on the other side of the House can be" — he was back in the chamber to correct the record.

Although he had not met with Font nor Austal, he had been in receipt of emails from both.

"I again confirm I have no direct contact or discussion with Austal or Font PR about this proposal," Mr Ferguson said.

"However, if I had it would have been entirely appropriate and I reserve the right to do so in future."

Professor Warhurst, from the ANU, said there should be clear rules about political advisers registering as lobbyists and meeting with their former bosses.

"This really does seem a conglomerate of power in the Tasmanian situation," Professor Warhurst said.

Mr Stansfield said it was a natural progression to transition from a political office to a lobbyist role.

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"I would say it is natural that people operate in fields they understand," Mr Stansfield said.

"I don't think that's wrong; I don't think that's unusual and I don't think it needs to be stopped."

Accountability in Tasmania 'in poor shape'

There are two government-funded integrity watchdogs: Ombudsman Tasmania, which monitors whether public authorities are acting lawfully and fairly, and the Integrity Commission, which investigates allegations of misconduct.

Ombudsman Richard Connock has not been shy about lashing a lack of resourcing in past years, but the 2019-20 annual report is yet to be tabled and he declined to comment in the interim.

The Integrity Commission does not have law enforcement powers, and, unlike the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), has not hold public hearings.

It received 165 complaints last financial year and completed five investigations and 28 assessments in the same period.

Community and Public Sector Union state secretary Tom Lynch said he believed those offices' resources had been degraded over the past decade.

"Wherever we look across the state service, the Tasmanian community should be confident that the work being done is being properly assessed and independently assessed, and those offices are being run into the ground," Mr Lynch said.

Every media outlet in the state has suffered extensive cuts in the same period.

Journalists Adam Morton and Bob Burton launched independent news website Tasmanian Inquirer earlier this year to try to plug some of the gaps.

"Many of the key elements necessary for robust accountability in Tasmania are in poor shape: the government is becoming ever more secretive as what was once Australia's best right to information law is treated with disdain by some agencies, we have next to no political donations disclosure, the lobbyist disclosure regime is weak and the Integrity Commission has significant limits," Burton said.

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"Throw in a weakened media and it is not a pretty picture."

PR companies, including Font, have purchased or started newspapers in the same period.

"We saved one regional newspaper from closure, we brought two more papers back from the dead," Mr Stansfield said.

"We're proud of that fact, and those newspapers are edited and produced by five journalists … as far as I'm concerned that's the end of the matter."

'Boys are back in town'

Tasmania also has the weakest political donation laws out of all states in Australia.

Donations under $13,800 do not have to be declared, including multiple donations under that threshold from the same donor.

Money associated with third-party campaigns — such as the business lobby-led Tasmanians for a Better Future during the 2006 state election and the gambling industry's Love Your Local in 2018 — are not captured under the state's laws, which are a direct replica of the federal regime.

In the months following the cash-soaked 2018 state election, former premier Will Hodgman declared electoral reform was on the way.

Two years on, now-Premier Peter Gutwein has said he was too busy dealing with the pandemic to turn his mind to the recommendations of the more than two-year-old Electoral Act Review — and those recommendations are not widely known because the report has been sitting with the state's Attorney-General since December.

"The Premier has made the commitment that once he has fully considered the matter, he will release the report," the Government spokeswoman said.

"However, at the moment as the election is not until 2022 it is not a priority and we remain focused on those matters that are most important to Tasmanians right now."

The State Government has said submissions made to the review will not be released until July next year.

Nelson independent MLC Meg Webb, who has been refused access to the documents, said it was an "astonishing" set of circumstances.

"That these submissions not only remain hidden by the Government but that it goes so far as to refuse an RTI request from a member of Parliament to access them, speaks volumes in terms of the level of secrecy," Ms Webb said.

Shadow attorney-general Ella Haddad tabled Labor's donations bill earlier this month, which would require the declaration of donations over $1,000 (including cumulative donations), ban anonymous donations over $1,000 and place a $1 million cap on each party's election expenditure.

It will not pass the Lower House because it does not appear to have the support of Clark Independent Madeleine Ogilvie — a former Labor MP.

Former Greens leader Christine Milne, who famously mapped out what she dubbed Tas Inc to track connections between MPs, business groups and other organisations while in the state's Parliament, said transparency in Tasmania had not improved in the past three decades.

"Tas Inc is alive and well, the boys are back in town," Ms Milne said.

"They are busily going through the revolving door."

"You have no donations reform, you have underfunded media so people can't do investigative journalism anymore, you don't have a serious Integrity Commission, and so they get away with it."

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TitleLobbyistsOwnersClients
Australian Public Affairs LtdArmon Hicks, Nick Trainor, Paula Smith, Sarah MichaelTracey CainAustralasian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Humanetix
Bartholomew Quinn and AssociatesDavid QuinnDavid QuinnNorske Skog, Waterfront Business Community, Houston's Farm, Inghams, Nyrstar
Barton DeakinJohn GriffinAndrew HumphersonAARNET, QBE, Expedia, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Lendlease, Serco, Heathgate Resources, JWDT Land, Sanofi Pharma, Quinor, Gallagher Bassett, General Dynamics Land Systems
Beltway Government Relations Pty LtdMichael GleesonMichael GleesonDXC Technology
Bespoke Approach Pty LtdIan SmithIan Smith, Andrew ButcherBridger Aerospace Australia
Brickfielder Government EngagementVanessa FindlayVanessa FindlayExpedia
Bush Consulting Services Pty LtdSimon BushSimon BushFujitsu Australia, SAP, Telstra, Australian Screen Association
Chatto Creek Advisory Russell ScoularRussell Gray Scoular, Linda Claire ScoularF/Chamber of Automotive; Industries
Christopher OldfieldChristopher OldfieldChristopher OldfieldLamb Weston, PFG Group, GP Hotel Launceston
Cornerstone Group AustraliaJoseph Tannous, Keren Davies, James CullenSt Joseph EnterprisesAustralian College of Cosmetic Surgery
Corporate AdvantageSimone RobinsonMatthew RobinsonISG Funds Management
Counsel HouseClaire MarchClaire MarchHer Heart
DPG Advisory SolutionsDavid Gazard, Gabrielle Brennan, Scott Briggs, Kate Schulze, Sasha GrebeDavid GazardAfterPay Touch, Australian Finance Group, Catholic Education, Challenger, Coles Supermarkets, National Automotive Leasing and Salary Packaging Association, Optiver, Rio Tinto, Unite Health Care Services, Wesfarmers, Racing Australia, Australian Automotive Dealer Association, Ignition Advice, Genworth Australia, Stockland Australia, Newcastle Airport, Unispace, Plenary Group, CopperString 2.0, Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing
Essential Media Communicationsn/aTony Douglas, Peter Lewisn/a
Federation Public AffairsMichael GleesonMichael GleesonDXC Technology, SPM Assets
Font Public RelationsBecher Townshend, Brad Stansfield, Brad Nowlandn/aTasmanian Independent Retailers, Tasmanian Gas Pipeline, Airbnb, Catholic Archdiocese of Tasmania, Anglican Archdiocese of Tasmania, Football Federation of Tasmania, Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association, Tasmanian Small Business Council, Healthscope, Lauderdale Landowners Group, Douris MGH, Granville Harbour Windfarm, Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania, Civil Contractors Federation, Colony 47, Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand, Lion Co, Coca-Cola Amatil, Timberlink Australia, RACT Insurance, Master Builders Tasmania, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce, John Laing, W&W Group, Tasmanian Seafoods, Australasian Association of Convenience Stores Limited, Workforce Health Assessors, Australian Property Institute, UPC/AC Renewables Australia, RACT, Kunama Property Group, Tassal, TikTok, Neuron Mobility
Forsius ConsultingBrent KnevettBrent KnevettEaglecrest Technologies, PBT Group, ToukanLabs, Netsweeper, Crely Healthcare, LookingGlass Cyber Security, Currie and Brown
FPL AdvisorySteven Cusworth, Catriona McNaughton, Stefan AnjouSteven CusworthMars Australia, Mars Petcare
FTI ConsultingShannon WalkerFTI Consultingbooking.com
FTI Consulting (Perth)Cameron Morse, Katie Hodson-Thomasn/aVenture Minerals
GovstratRobert BorbidgeDamian PowerMacquarie Capital
GRA PartnersAmanda ReidDP WorldGRACosway, Jason Marocchi Family Trust, Eric Ripper, Michael Grau
GRACoswayLeslie Graham Timar, Richard Victor King, Kirsten Mulley, Nicolaos Xerakias, Andrew Cox, Sean JohnsonDiversified Marketing ServicesDrinkWise Australia, Biogen Australia, Healthscope Operations, Aveo Healthcare, Junior Adventures Group, TheirCare, TeamKids, Camp Australia Proprietary Limited, the National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of Australia, BAI Communications, Healthe Care Australia, McCain Foods Australia, Ansell Limited, Mars Australia, Bunnings
Hawker BrittonSimon BanksSingleton Ogilvy and MatherBunnings, STW Group, Institute of Public Accountants, BTI
Huon River Trading CompanyEvan RolleyEvan RolleyTa Ann Tasmania, Neville Smith Forest Product
John Barker and AssociatesJohn Barker, Thomas O'MearaJohn Scott BarkerFont Public Relations, Stornoway, Ambulance Private, South East ReUse Scheme Group, Gutteridge Haskins Davey (GHD), Sea Perfect, Misho Vasiljevch (Iron Creek Development), Spectran Environmental Management, TCA Redevelopment Consortium, Moor Tech, Timberlink Australia, Nexus Hospitals, Skretting
Lady and ProfessorLouise Yabsley, Kel WattLouise Yabsley, Kel WattWounds Australia
LK CreativeLlewellyn ReesLlewellyn ReesRiverlee, Agersens, Eco-Guardians, ResourceCo, Online Brands Group, Rheban Rd
M&M CommunicationsAndrew Mark ThomasAndrew Mark ThomasCitta Property Group, Cancer Council Tasmania, Lady Gowrie Tasmania, May Ann Bay, Police Association of Tasmania, Engineers Australia, Golf Tasmania/Australia, TCCI, Relationships Australia Tasmania, MAST, Bank of Us, Commissioner for Children and Young People
Martine HaleyMartine HaleyMartine HaleyFont PR, Roche Group, Wells Haslem Mayhew
MC Rowell ConsultingMat RowellMat RowellColes Bay Holdings
Mike LesterMike LesterMike LesterBright Star Fireworks, Copper Mines of Tasmania, Mt Wellington Cableway Company
Newgate CommunicationsMatt WilliamsSEC NewgateBunnings Group, Officeworks, Dominos Pizza, Heart Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, eBay
Nexus APACNick Campbell, Matthew Versi, Nari Clayton, Greg Holland, Alex Knoop, Justin Fazzolari, Addison RidgeNexus Asia Pacific InvestmentsMundipharma, Osteoporosis Australia, Swisse, Amgen, H&R Block, ResMed, Australian Ski Areas Association, Upjohn Australia
Nylander ConsultingKeryn Nylandern/aCenoTas, Southern Cross Care Tasmania, Tempus Village Management, Dixon Group, Local Government Association of Tasmania, Bank of Us, Lion
OPR AgencyLeon Beswick, Peta Lange, Nino Tesoriero, Alexandra McInnes, Georgia Lawson, Fiona Forbes, Emma Nunan, Carly ValeOgilvy Public RelationsBell Shakespeare, AbbVie Australia, Mars Chocolate Australia, Netflix Australia, Chiropractors Association of Australia, Australian Olive Oil Association, Roche, 3M Australia, Amgen Australia, Seqirus, Rare Voices Australia, Australian Chiropractors Association, Amicus Therapeutics, AstraZeneca, Australian Pompe Association, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Australia, Ikea, Ipsen, Janssen Australia and New Zealand, Johnson & Johnson, Lung Foundation Australia, Painaustralia, Haemophilia Foundation Australia, Macular Disease Foundation Australia, HCF, Spirits and Cocktails Australia, Ancestry, Equinex, Iress Limited
Outcomes & Strategies GroupBob BaldwinRobert BaldwinAustralian Fishing Trade Association, Varley Group, Eagle Property Group
ParamulPaul LennonPaul Lennon, Margaret LennonARTEC, Federal Group, Midway Ltd, Steritech, Neville Smith Forests Products, Marriner Group, Patriarch Resources, UTAS
Porter Novelli AustraliaRhys Ryan, Patrick McLelland, Arj Ganeshalingam, Ashton Deono, Laura Sedgwick, Alexandra Berriman, Natalie Ward, Peter Kent, Keith Cowden BrownPeter Kent, Jonathan IsaacsMcCain Foods, Rural Bank/Rural Finance, Yumbah Aquaculture, MedHealth, General Mills Australia New Zealand, HVP Plantations, Mars Australia, Rural Workforce Agency Victoria
PremierNationalMichael Photios, Ian Hancock, Cooper Darling-Blair, Fiona Scott, Lachland Crombie, Mark Jones, Antony Anisse, Sarah McKenzie, Aaron ParnellMichael Photios, Ian HancockMusic Australia, Australian Solar Energy Society, Smart Energy Council, UGL, Roberts Pizzarotti, Environmental Leadership, Farmers for Climate Action, Beyond Zero Emissions, Australian Energy Foundation
Primary Communication PartnersFrancesco Coletta, Christopher HallElagh Group, Elora Group, Borta Group, DecoradaTriple P International, The Butterfly Foundation, Scouts Australia, National Eating Disorders Collaboration, Education Testing Services, BOC South Pacific, Study Group, William Demant Holding Group, Young and Well CRC, BOC Limited, Mental Health Commission of NSW, Council of International Students Australia, Elgas, Belinda Mason Photography, Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Smiling Mind, Australian Hydrogen Council
Profile ConsultingNick MelasNick Melas, Ian KnopProperty Exchange Australia, Smartgroup Corporation, Health-e Workforce Solutions
Pyne and PartnersChristopher Pyne, Adam Howard, Cristian Di IulioChristopher Pyne, Adam HowardGood to Great Schools Australia, Bustech
PynfallHannelore DuczekHannelore DuczekHensoldt Australia, Arianespace, Photonis Technologies SAS
Res PublicaJames Tait, Gabriel McDowell, Simone Rayner, Kelly Greenfield, Nathan QuigleyGabriel McDowell, James Tait, Aleks RjadkowskiSpinal Cure Australia, Australian Association of National Advertisers, Lion
Richardson CouttsJohn Richardson, Stephen Coutts, Shannan MantonRichardson and Associates, Stephen CouttsFIPRA, Allocate Software, Integraph Corporation, Law In Order, Brookfield Infrastructure, Royal Caribbean
SanlaanSanto SantoroSanto Santoro, Letitia Mary SantoroTechnology One, Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, Goldwind Australia, Healthcare Logic, Risk 2 Solution Holdings
SAS Consulting GroupPeter CostantiniIllalangi, Wentworth Communications, the Cole Family Trust, Peter Costantini and Julie Catherine McLennanBasslink
Sefiani CommunicationsNicholas OwensRobyn Sefiani, Nicholas Owens, Sarah Craign/a
Spring Street AdvisoryKen McAlpineMcAlpine Family TrustJohn Laing, Vestas, Infoxchange
Tasman Management ServicesJulian Amosn/aTempus
The Civic Group Holdings and HighchairJason Aldworth, Marco Gattino, Rora Furman, Arden BakerMarco Gattino, Jason Adlworth, Rora FurmanPowershop Australia, Meridian Energy Australia, Varian Medical Systems, Vicinity Centres PM
The Trustee for Arthur TrustHamish ArthurHamish ArthurEngineers Australia, Bet365, Bet365 Group Limited, KBR
Timmins RayGreg Ray, Jacquie RayGreg Ray, Jacquie RayPetuna Aquaculture, Caravanning Tasmania, LGAT
Tom O'Meara and AssociatesTom O'Meara, John BarkerTom O'MearaTasmanian Suppliers Collective Bargaining Group, Tasmanian Land Tax Consortium, Tasmanians for Reform, Opcon, Launceston Retail Lobby Group, Business Association Tasmanian, Ausveg, TCCI, Font PR, St Lukes Health
Unravelling Red TapeElaine AberyElaine AberyMyopathy Association Australia, Australian Natural Therapists Association
Vanguard HealthKerry George GallagherKerry Gallagher, Sharon GallagherAustralian Army Training Team Vietnam Association, Australian Society of Ophthalmologists, Specialist Connect, Queensland Health and Hospital Service
Vigot & CODavid EpsteinDavid Epsteinn/a
Wells Haslem Strategic Public AffairsBenjamin Haslem, Kathy Lindsay, Stav Pisk, Larissa Jaffe, Caitlin Stevens, Philip Wells, Mark RapaportBenjamin Haslem, Philip Wells, Alexandra Mayhew, Kathy Patricia LindsayCarnival Australia
Wells O'Callaghan WattersonHannah Watterson, Nermin Bajric, Sidar Thams, Oisin O'Callaghan, Cameron WellsHannah Watterson, Cameron Wells, Oisin O'CallaghanAvaya Australia, BIS Oxford Economics, Ciena Australia, D2L Australia, Boomi, Macquarie Telecom, Motorola Solutions, Nutanix, Southern Cross Cable Network, Vertiv, Rimini Street, Smart WFM, Rubrik, Orix Australia Corporation, Curiious, InterSystems, LEK Consulting, Nozomi Networks, Lumin Sports Technology, Scone Literary Festival, LINX Cargo Care Group, Seismic, Rectifier Technologies, Five Faces, Fruit Box, Renewtrak, Stay Upright, Enosi, Coates Hire
Wilkinson ButlerNicholas Albrow, Andrew ButlerAndrew Butler, Peter WilkinsonHager Electro
Woodhill CommunicationStephen WoodhillStephen WoodhillGroup of 100, Enware, Red Meat Advisory Council, Philip Morris

(Source: Department of Premier and Cabinet Register of Lobbyists)

Information correct as of October 20

Victoria travel restrictions: When will other states open their borders? .
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usr: 42
This is interesting!