Lobbyist conduct queried

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By Alicia Wood

Originally published: The Daily Telegraph, August 25 2014.

CONTROVERSIAL Joe Tannous faces being struck off the lobbyist register, after the Department of Premier and Cabinet reviews another possible breach of the code of conduct.

Opposition upper house leader Luke Foley grilled acting DPC boss Simon Smith over Mr Tannous taking his clients — the Aboriginal Land Council — to a fundraiser for Drummoyne Liberal MP John Sidoti. Mr Tannous ran Mr Sidoti’s 2011 election campaign.

Under the code of conduct, lobbyists have to keep their lobbying and political activities strictly separate. Last year, Mr Tannous was found to have breached the code of conduct for claiming that his position on the NSW Liberal state executive could “attain the desired results” for clients.

The report found it a “minor breach”, but it would be an “aggravating factor” in case of future breaches.

But Mr Tannous accused Mr Foley of “muck-raking”.

“There is no breach of the code for a lobbyist to facilitate access by a client to an event conducted by or behalf of a political party, Mr Tannous said.