Lobbyists get a bad press because of the way our politicians choose to do politics. Instead of there being regular frequent open inquiries, most public policy decisions are "announced" after some brief private consultation and usually a political analysis - will the decision either (a) be easy to implement through the parliament or (b) have a rocky road but provide an opportunity for "differentiation".
But as for the wild acqusations that Rudd was somehow involved in a long planned exercise - a dinner on 1 August with an invitation of 28 July is the ultimate in short run events, and is entirely consistent with the Rudd description. The invitations I've received from lobbyists and backbenchers to attend "functions" with front benchers are typically organised much further in advance.
As for the conclusion that it must have been well prepared because Rudd spoke on China - heck the man does that stump speech everywhere, including last year's ALP Business Forum.
The person I feel sorry for is Senator Ian Campbell, who lost his front bench position for just doing his job. Meanwhile, a host of front benchers haven't lost their jobs for NOT doing their job - Downer for not inquiring into AWB, Ruddock for not representing an Australian citizen illegally interned in the US, Peter Reith for not telling the truth about children overboard, etc.
Anyway, all credit (again) to Senator Andrew Murray for his release that highlights the need to change the system if we want different outcomes.
(Addendum. The text of this post was also published by Crikey today, but unfortunately I sent that before I found the useful Andrew Murray media release.)