In this video interview, Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC) executive director David Forman explains why the group, which represents Telstra's rivals in Canberra's halls of power, is not technically a lobbyist and doesn't need to appear on Kevin Rudd's lobbyist register.
"The lobbyist register is for those people who are kind of hired guns who may be representing a number of different companies or a number of different industries at any particular time — not industry associations. So the CCC, IIA, AIIA — none of those organisations."
Forman said the CCC did not employ a third-party lobbyist firm. "They're expensive. Some of my members would, separately, to represent their own interests, but the CCC doesn't," he said.
Asked why it wasn't worth spending the money to push the CCC's agenda, a crusade for fair competition in the telco, he said that his members didn't have the reserves to match Telstra's lobbyist spending. Telstra was recently outed as being the largest active employer of Canberra lobbyists in the IT&T field.
"My members can't compete dollar for dollar for Telstra in something that is non-core to them, which is lobbying," he said.
Forman said those companies were spending their efforts gaining customers. Meanwhile, incumbents like Telstra started at 100 per cent of the customers and lobbied to keep their share.
"Then it comes [to] a point where they realise that the lobbying by the incumbent impinges on their ability to get you as a customer and that's when they find themselves being drawn into the political and regulatory realm," he said. "That's why the CCC exists."