1 March 2017: Australians lead worldwide support for political donations reform as nation’s first on-line disclosure system goes live

The world’s largest survey on public experience of corruption has revealed Australians’ biggest concerns are about secret backroom deals between business and government, rather than petty bribery – and that they’re among the strongest proponents of banning corporate political donations.

The results from Transparency International’s 2016-2017 Global Corruption Barometer come the day Queensland’s new online donation disclosure system goes live – an Australian first – and two weeks ahead of the National Integrity 2017 Conference.

TI Australia Chairman Anthony Whealy QC said it is vital this Queensland reform be extended nationwide – as part of a wider strategy for dealing with Australians’ concerns around corruption, to be discussed at the conference.  The reform was first called for by TI Australia in 2005.

The new Global Corruption Barometer results show:

  • 76% of citizens think at least some federal parliamentarians ‘are involved in corruption’ – including 12% who believe that most or all are involved;
  • 93% of citizens think at least some business executives are involved in corruption –
    including 20% who believe that most or all are involved;
  • 66% of citizens agreed strongly that ‘financial support by companies to political parties and candidates should be banned completely’ – equal 6th highest out of 42 countries;
  • 79% of citizens agreed strongly that wealthy individuals often use their influence on government for their own interests and there need to be stricter rules to prevent this’ – equal 3rd highest out of 42 countries surveyed.

“It’s time to seriously address Australians’ lack of trust in business and political leaders,” Mr Whealy said.


“While Australians may enjoy a relatively low experience of petty bribery by officials (only 4%, compared with 34% for Russia), it’s clearly the risks of hidden, higher-level ‘grand’ corruption involving business and political leaders, like those cases revealed in recent years by the NSW ICAC, that concerns Australians the most.”


A third of Australian citizens (34%) thought that corruption had increased in the last year, and only 5% thought it had decreased, with most (57%) believing it had stayed the same.


“This is better than 5 years ago when up to half of citizens thought corruption was on the increase, but it’s of obvious concern that perceptions of corruption have plateaued at this higher level.”


Next week, comparative results for a further 15 countries across Asia will also be released, showing how bribery risks and impacts compare with Australia within our own region.


The new Queensland system for online, real-time regime for disclosing donations to political parties will be front and centre at the upcoming conference on 16-17 March, which will be addressed on the issue by Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath.


The conference will also hear from Senator Jacinta Collins, Chair of the new Senate Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission, re-established by federal parliament just two weeks ago to evaluate Australia’s anti-corruption architecture.


“With the resignation of Victoria’s speaker and deputy speaker last weekend over parliamentary expense claims, it is crucial we get serious about strategies for restoring public confidence in our political leaders and their relations with business and the community,” Mr Whealy concluded.


National Integrity 2017 is being co-hosted by Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy, in Brisbane on 16-17 March.  Details and registrations can be found at http://events.griffith.edu.au/nationalintegrity2017.



Media Contacts:

Hon. Anthony Whealy QC, TI Australia Chair:
0414 963 643

Professor A J Brown, Griffith University and TI Australia board member:
0414 782 331


Background Notes:

Global Corruption Barometer 2016/2017


The world’s largest survey of public opinion and experience with respect to corruption:



Europe & Central Asia report

  • 42 countries
  • Survey fieldwork conducted November 2015 – July 2016
  • Face to face or Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews of representative samples of 1000-1500 citizens, conducted by Efficience3 or TNS
  • Report released November 2016
  • People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia
  • http://www.transparency.org/research/gcb/gcb_2015_16/0/



  • Survey fieldwork conducted 6 September to 12 October 2016
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews of representative sample of 1002 citizens, conducted by Action Mark Research (Adelaide) for Efficience3
  • Full results to be released 7 March 2017 and formally launched at National Integrity 2017
  • People and Corruption: Asia Pacific
  • 16 countries (including Australia)
  • Face to face or Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews of representative samples of 1000-4000 citizens, conducted between January 2016 and January 2017