Our ability to conduct business is directly affected by government decision making, so it’s important we have open and constructive relationships with them.
Our expectations of youYou need to maintain honest relationships with governments and their agencies, officials and personnel. You must apply Our Requirements for Business Conduct to all interactions with governments.
It is important that our engagement with government is consistent and aligned with company policy. If you are engaging with government on matters other than of a routine regulatory nature, you must speak with Corporate Affairs before proceeding and must obtain Corporate Affairs’ approval for any submissions to government on behalf of the Company. This includes responses to government inquiries and submissions or papers on proposed legislative reforms.
Chief Compliance Officer’s approval must also be obtained before submitting an official response on behalf of BHP to an anti-corruption, competition, sanctions, state secrets or financial markets enforcement agency.
All information provided to governments and third parties on behalf of the Company must be accurate and appropriate for the purpose.
Government events and political activities
You may be able to participate in events or activities organised by a political party, politician, elected official or candidate for public office if your involvement is for business, related to policy briefing, and the activity is supported by your line leader. Events or activities cannot be related to political fundraising.
Activities that require registration and approval in advance include:
- payment for tables at functions or events with a clear business purpose which are sponsored by, or associated with, any political party, politician or political candidate;
- sponsoring research by ‘think tanks’ affiliated or linked to political parties;
- involvement with any event organised by, or on behalf, of a political party for which a fee is paid and is not related to, or perceived as, political fundraising.
We recognise employees’ rights and respect their choices to participate as individuals in the political process provided you make it clear that you are not representing BHP.
You must notify your line leader and your 2Up leader if you intend to pursue political office as soon as you decide and document this in writing. You will need to apply for leave if you are running for office. You will also need to apply for leave if you are carrying out the duties of public office during normal working hours. You may need to resign from your position at BHP if you win your candidacy.
Participation, including your time and money, must be made on your own account and your political opinions must not be presented as being those of our Company. You won’t be able to use any information or BHP resources that you have had access to in your role or via your employment during your involvement in the political process. Similarly, you can’t access BHP support in any form while running for office or carrying out activities of public office.
As a line leader of an employee who decides to be involved in the political process, you must speak to Ethics and Compliance for guidance as soon as you are made aware of the employee’s decision.
Our expectations of others who work with usWhen you work with BHP please make sure you are familiar with our requirements for engaging with governments. If you are conducting business on behalf of BHP you must not jeopardise any of our government relationships. Ask your primary contact for more information about how we work with governments.
Where to go for help
- Your line leader or 2Up leader
- Ethics and Compliance
- Corporate Affairs
Tools and resources
- Talk to Corporate Affairs before you engage with government officials on public policy or issues that could impact BHP’s reputation or licence to operate.
- Be truthful, accurate and cooperative when dealing with government officials.
- Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Consider potential corruption risks when dealing with government officials.
- Seek approval for involvement in any business-related event or activity organised by, or on behalf of, a political party or candidate and be transparent when undertaking such activities.
- Discuss with your line leader and 2Up leader and advise in writing if you plan to seek or accept a role in public office and log this plan in the Ethics and Compliance Register, if appropriate. Make it clear that you are not acting on behalf of BHP.
- Authorise, offer, give or promise anything of value directly or indirectly to a government official to influence official action.
- Attend an event or activity during work hours or on behalf of BHP which is intended for political fundraising.
- Attempt to obstruct the lawful collection of information, data, testimony or records by appropriately authorised government or regulatory officials or hinder the lawful and proper provision of such information by another employee.
- Take retaliatory action against anyone who lawfully and properly cooperates with government agencies.
- Accept information about a government’s competitive selection of a supplier or competitor’s bid or proposal (unless the government has specifically and lawfully authorised the release of the information).
- Use, or allow others to use, any BHP information assets or resources for a political campaign, party or candidate, elected official or any of their affiliated organisations.
- Pay wages or salaries, fringe benefits or remuneration of any kind to a BHP employee working for a party or candidate during normal working hours.
Example questions and answers
Personal vs company viewsQuestion: I’m at a social event hosted by a political party and people are asking me what BHP’s position is on climate change.
What should I do?
Show AnswersWhile you should not respond on behalf of BHP, you can refer people to our website for more detailed information on our climate policy. If you are familiar with the key points of that policy, you are free to highlight those — but still encourage people to check the website. If you have personal views on climate change, or any other public policy issue, you are of course free to express those — but it is important to ensure that you flag that these are your personal views.
Political eventsQuestion: I have been invited by a political party to attend a luncheon event to discuss policy matters of relevance to the resource sector in an open and transparent forum hosted by elected officials. The ticket cost is US$140. I know that representatives from our competitor companies will be there.
Can I attend and if so do I need approval from anyone?
Show AnswersPrior to accepting this invitation you should seek approval from your line leader using the Ethics and Compliance Registers. Your line leader will need to consider whether the ticket costs are or can be perceived as political fundraising. You should also consult with Corporate Affairs to ensure that there is no conflict of interest that you, or your line leader, may not be aware of and make sure that you have completed competition law training within the last 15 months.