Is communication between a political party and its elected representatives (DPOs) lobbying?
Political parties play an important role in policy development, working with their members – including elected members – to develop or refine party policy. It is important that political parties are able to consider and develop policy and program platforms in consultation with their membership. This will often entail a degree of internal consultation regarding what would be considered “relevant matters” under the Act. Where a political party is communicating with its elected representatives (DPOs) regarding a relevant matter, the communication could, therefore, be captured by the definition of a lobbying activity.
While there is no specific provision to exempt such communications from the definition of lobbying, the Standards Commission is of the view that such internal party communications cannot have been intended to be within the scope of the Act or required to be included as returns on the Register of Lobbying.
Where a political party communicates with its elected representatives (DPOs) in their capacity as members of the party and/or their position as party spokespersons with regard to the initiation, development or modification of any public policy or programme or in relation to the preparation or amendment of an enactment, it will not be regarded as a lobbying activity.