Australia has failed to improve its position in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), maintaining 13th position in the global rankings.
The news has prompted leading anti-corruption NGO, Transparency International Australia to announce a national conference on how trust in government and business can be restored, in light of recent scandals.
The CPI, undertaken by Transparency International, gives countries scores on a scale of 0 (very corrupt) to 100 (very clean) and ranks them. The CPI score is based on perceptions of corruption in the public sector, and is the most widely used indicator of corruption risk worldwide.
While Australia’s score remains the same as for 2015, this follows three consecutive years of decline – from 85 points (8th position) in 2012 to the present score of 79 (13th).
Chairman of Transparency International Australia Anthony Whealy QC, said: “It is now crucial that Australian governments, business and society work to realign Australia’s position with its rhetoric as a global leader in the fight against corruption.”
“We are calling on government, business and ordinary citizens to join us in Brisbane on 16-17 March, for National Integrity 2017 – a special conference to map out the blueprint for restoring public trust in our institutions.”
High on the agenda will be how Australia should strengthen its anti-corruption bodies and the role that companies, governments and other institutions can play in this.
In the wake of several parliamentary entitlements scandals, a recent poll conducted by The Australia Institute showed 82 per cent of Australians support a new independent corruption watchdog to investigate corruption among federal politicians and officials.
TI Australia has advocated for a new, broader based federal anti-corruption agency since 2004.
“Now we clearly need to get on with it – but we also have to be smart, and strengthen our institutions in a way that achieves a better, enduring integrity system,” Mr Whealy said.
“The conference will also discuss how Australian companies can better defend themselves against corruption risks, with the CPI showing most neighbours under significant corruption pressure, and Thailand, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore all falling in their absolute score.”
The Australian Government has already adopted an official aim ‘to improve Australia’s score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index by strengthening the Australian Government’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to bribery and corruption’, in its first Open Government Partnership Action Plan (December 2016).
“We are delighted that Justice Stephen Gageler of the High Court of Australia has already agreed to officially open the conference, and that other prominent speakers are lining up with their ideas – including NSW and former Commonwealth Ombudsman John McMillan AO, Law Council president-elect Fiona McLeod SC, and Kate Hughes, Chief Risk Officer with Telstra.
The National Integrity 2017 conference is being co-hosted by Griffith University. Details and registrations can be found at http://events.griffith.edu.au/nationalintegrity2017
More announcements of key speakers and further steps in response to the latest results will be made next week, at national events hosted by advisory and investment firm KordaMentha.
Full details of the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking 176 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption using 13 surveys of expert assessments and businesspeople can be found at http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016
Hon. Anthony Whealy QC, TI Australia Chair:
0414 963 643
Professor A J Brown, Griffith University and TI Australia board member:
0414 782 331