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Bracks, Mr 77%, Courts Melbourne Business

The Age reports today on the extent of links between the Bracks Labor government and Melbourne’s business community, claiming that Bracks privately briefed corporate leaders on government decisions before they were publicly announced.

The article also details the members of the government’s Round Table and outlines the operations of “Progressive Business”, an organisation set up by the ALP which charges corporate clients $715 per year for invitation-only briefing sessions with cabinet ministers and federal opposition shadow ministers. Individuals are charged $275 annually. The paper says membership of the organisation now numbers around 200.

Earlier this week, opinion polls showed that Bracks is the most popular political leader in the country at present, his 77% approval rating surpassing the polling levels attained by Bob Hawke at his peak.

The details of the Bracks government’s dealings with corporate lobby groups points to the advantages economic pressure groups have in being able to achieve privileged access to the decision-making process. It also highlights the political skills of the government which is determined not to get offside with powerful interest groups.

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