'Massive loopholes' giving lobbyists access: Pocock

·1-min read

Independent senator David Pocock says "massive loopholes" are allowing tobacco lobbyists to evade transparency at Parliament House.

During a parliamentary hearing on Monday, Senator Pocock questioned whether giving the lobbyists access to parliamentarians was in step with community values and expectations.

The hearing was told the Department of Parliamentary Services did not record the industry individuals represented and relied upon pass holders to update their information if they changed organisations.

Senator Pocock said he was told of a case where a person was sponsored for a pass, then moved into the tobacco industry and continued to use their previous pass to access parliament.

"There are these gaping, massive loopholes that allow lobbyists to enter the building and have these meetings," he said.

Senate President Sue Lines said an "agnostic" policy should remain in place, and it would be "absolutely inappropriate" for presiding officers to decide which industry could be granted building access.

"The passes don't give that pass holder the right to a meeting, they give them the right to enter the building," she said.

"Our pass system at the moment is robust, we've got very strong security in this building."

The hearing was told there were almost 2000 sponsored passes, which includes access for lobbyists, out of the total 11,700 passes granted for parliament.