Qld IT minister accused of being paid to see Technology One

Qld IT minister accused of being paid to see Technology One

Summary: New scrutiny over Ros Bates' lobbyist register has found that not only did she meet several times with a single technology provider, but she also accepted donations from it.

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Queensland IT Minister Ros Bates has been accused of accepting donations from Technology One in return for several meetings with the company.

Bates has been under fire recently, after she voluntarily tabled her register of activities with lobbyists and they were found to be inaccurate. At the time, Bates blamed the incomplete list on an administrative error, explaining in parliament sittings earlier this month (PDF) that a staffer provided only one of two spreadsheet tabs containing the full list.

"The original document was tabled in haste by my staff member after 6 o'clock and Estimates. It was an administrative error that anybody could have made. It was a mere Excel spreadsheet. There were two pages to the Excel spreadsheet. It was faxed, at the behest of the opposition, during that time," Bates said.

Bates subsequently tabled an amended register that brought the total number of lobbyist contacts from 30 to 77.

The new register (PDF) reveals that of 13 meetings held with various lobbyists, Bates met with Technology One four times via Santo Santoro Consulting, and an additional time at a Technology One luncheon.

In comparison, Bates only met with larger organisations Computer Science Corporation, Australia Post, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Westpac, and ASG Group once each during the same period. The register also shows that Bates never spoke to industry giants Hewlett-Packard and UXC, despite requests by these companies to meet the minister.

The new register itself may still not provide a full picture of Bates' interactions with Technology One or other groups. Even though it lists meetings, phone calls and emails from lobbyists, it does not cover direct contact from other organisations. For example, Technology One general manager John Vickers contacted Bates the night prior to IT Queensland's ICT Forum on May 31, as detailed in his speech, yet no record of it exists on the register.

ZDNet contacted Technology One for comment, but did not receive a reply at the time of writing.

The Courier-Mail also reports that Technology One made AU$3,000 in donations. This is despite businesses and individuals only being legally permitted to donate up to AU$2,000. However, when counted as individual donations from Technology One's regional manager Steve Terry and operating officer Roger Phare, they could be considered legal.

It is unlikely that Bates will appear in the last sitting of parliament for this year to respond to the claims. Over the weekend, Bates was admitted to hospital following a fall at her home. The injuries to her back will mean that she will remain in hospital for up to a week, and then continue on medical leave for a further two to three weeks.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek will take up Bates' portfolio in the meantime.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Australia

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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3 comments
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  • Speech to the IT Forum by John Vickers

    The reason my contact with Ros Bates was not entered into the lobbyist register is that I am not a lobbyist. One has to register and earn revenue from the lobbying business to be regarded as a professional lobbyist. I was requested to give the speech in recognition of my past positions as Chair of AIIA Qld, Chair of Software Queensland, and member of the ICT Work Group. The contention that every Chair of an Association or every businessperson must register as a lobbyist is plainly ludicrous. - John Vickers
    johnjc vickers
  • Definition of a lobbyist

    Hi Michael,
    Perhaps you should research your articles for professionally and thoroughly in future.
    An easy Google search for the Queensland definition of a lobbyistis readily available.
    Who needs to register

    Professional lobbyists who act on behalf of a third party client who wish to lobby State or local government officials need to be registered before they contact a government representative for the purpose of lobbying activities.

    For the purpose of the Register of Lobbyists, a professional lobbyist is an entity that carries out a lobbying activity for a third party client or whose employees or contractors carry out a lobbying activity for a third party client.

    However, for these purposes, a lobbyist does not include:
    •a non-profit entity, such as a charity, church, club or environmental protection society
    •an entity that represents the interests of its members, such as employer groups, trade unions, and professional bodies
    •a member of a trade delegation visiting Queensland
    •an entity carrying out incidental lobbying activities or lobbying only to represent the entity’s interests.

    An entity carries out ‘incidental lobbying activities’ if its lobbying activities are only occasional and incidental to providing professional or technical services, such as an architectural, engineering, legal or accountancy practice. It should be noted that, if the lobbying activities extend beyond ‘incidental’ activities, the members of these and other professions must register as lobbyists.

    A detailed definition is contained in section 41 of the Integrity Act 2009.
    johnjc vickers
    • Definition of a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar....

      Hi John,

      You're correct - Google searches are fun!

      It's very interesting when a sub-manager of TechnologyOne tries to belittle a journalist simply reporting the truth.

      Taking offence to reported truths is not an admission of guilt however does little to inspire confidence in your commercial innocence, or ethics.

      Your comments are surprising, seeing your admitted 'incidental lobbying' tactics, are the exact rule loopholes denounced by your own appointed lobbyist, Santo Santoro.
      [http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/santo-santoro-lobbies-for-rule-changes/story-e6freoof-1226527076373]

      This new public affiliation with the QLD Liberal Party, differs dramatically from your previously stated beliefs that you are not 'anti anyone' (within government), but instead are 'pro industry'.
      [http://blogs.longhaus.com/when-associations-drift-too-close-to-government/]

      I guess ideology will only take TechnologyOne so far, as it's not until all LNP dues are paid, that the company can take a toehold within the QLD government.

      However with only two years left of the current Liberal regime, a toehold will not be enough to secure long lasting contracts, with any meaningful return on investment.

      With the very real possibilities of the QLD voting public dramatically swinging the opposite way, heavy liberal lobbying companies such as TechnologyOne will be quickly forgotten.

      Regards,
      -B.Gommers
      TechnologyOne