Nationals’ Gilmore candidate Katrina Hodgkinson still on lobbying firm’s payroll | Australia news

The National party’s candidate in the New South Wales marginal seat of Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson, is still on the payroll of one of Australia’s most powerful lobbying firms while running for federal parliament in next month’s election.

The former NSW state government minister is listed as a director of corporate counsel on Canberra-based Barton Deakin’s website.

Hodgkinson said she was on formal leave from Barton Deakin for the duration of the election campaign.

“No there is no conflict of interest. I am not a lobbyist and I do not undertake lobbying activities,” she said in an email to the Guardian from her Barton Deakin email address.

Barton Deakin’s chief executive, Matthew Hingerty, confirmed Hodgkinson is a current employee on leave and also denied there was a conflict of interest.

Hodgkinson is not presently listed on the federal government’s lobbyist register.

She became the Nationals’ federal vice-president last year but remained working at Barton Deakin.

She was previously registered as a third-party lobbyist with the firm, but removed herself from the federal register before nominating for the Nationals’ post.

At the time Hodgkinson told the Guardian her work at Barton Deakin is “internal and advisory in nature”.

Her online biography says she brings “a wealth of experience and contacts to the Barton Deakin team, gathered over 30 years in both the private and public sectors”.

Barton Deakin’s client list includes AMP, which took a battering to its reputation at the banking royal commission after explosive allegations of widespread and potentially criminal misconduct.

Other companies on its books include NuCoal Resources, McDonald’s, KFC, tech giant Apple, Citigroup, QBE Insurance, Opal Aged Care and the Norwegian government-owned oil firm Equinor (formerly known as StatOil) which is seeking to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

Hodgkinson is vying for the regional NSW seat in a four-horse race between the former Labor president Warren Mundine who is running for the Liberal party, Labor’s Fiona Phillips and Grant Schultz, an independent who is the son of former NSW Liberal MP Alby Schultz and was to be the Liberal before the party opted for Mundine.

Hodgkinson announced on Tuesday she had received endorsements from all three former members: retiring Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis, former Liberal MP Jo Gash and former Nat member John Sharp.

Sudmalis, who held the seat on a 0.7% margin, is leaving politics citing claims of bullying and backstabbing.

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