October 2005 (#70)

In this update:

  • TI Australia AGM 3 November 2005 at 5pm
  • Australian Federal Government Law Enforcement Reform Bill
  • Transparency International’s Annual Report 2004
  • ‘Whistling While They Work’: Enhancing the Theory and Practice of Internal Witness Management in Public Sector Organisations
  • Millennium Development Goals are unreachable without commitment to fighting corruption
  • UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
  • Australian Federal Government – Money Laundering legislation
  • UN action imperative to remove breeding ground for corruption
  • Oil producers ‘face bigger corruption threat’ as prices rise
  • International Conference on Engaging Communities, Brisbane, 14-17 August 2005
  • EthicsWorld Website
  • Coming Events

TI Australia AGM 3 November 2005 at 5pm

5.30pm: refreshments
6.00pm: Justice Jerrold Cripps, Commissioner of ICAC, New Developments and Issues for ICAC
Venue: PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Sydney

Australian Federal Government Law Enforcement Reform Bill

During the Spring Session the Australian Federal government is to introduce a bill called the Law Enforcement Reform Bill. This bill will provide for the establishment, functions and powers of an Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, headed by a statutory Integrity Commissioner, as an independent body with special investigative powers to look into possible corruption in Australian Government law enforcement agencies and to recommend remedial measures, including prosecution, to the relevant authorities.

Transparency International�s Annual Report 2004

A coordinated global call for action in preventing corruption in humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami highlighted a rewarding year for Transparency International (TI), according to its Annual Report 2004, released recently. The year also saw TI move to a more solid financial footing, strengthening its position as the leading civil society organisation in the global fight against corruption.

�Whistling While They Work�: Enhancing the Theory and Practice of Internal Witness Management in Public Sector Organisations

Transparency International is an industry partner in ‘Whistling While They Work’, a three-year collaborative national research project into the management and protection of internal witnesses, including whistleblowers, in the Australian public sector. The project is led by Griffith University and jointly funded by: the Australian Research Council; the six participating universities, and 14 industry partners including some of Australia’s most important integrity and public sector management agencies. The protection of whistleblowers and other internal witnesses to corruption, misconduct and maladministration is a great unsolved problem of public sector governance.
This first national study of internal witness management is setting out to describe and compare organisational experience under varying public interest disclosure regimes across the Australian public sector. By identifying and promoting current best practice in workplace responses to public interest whistle-blowing, the project will use the experience and perceptions of internal witnesses and first- and second-level managers to identify more routine strategies for preventing, reducing and addressing reprisals and other whistleblowing-related conflicts.

Millennium Development Goals are unreachable without commitment to fighting corruption

Transparency International�s 14 September press release says that corruption is a key obstacle to development, undermining material well-being and social justice and calls the General Assembly to act now. There will be no fair world, no abolition of extreme poverty, as long as the calculus of corruption undermines education, health, trade and the environment. Dramatic reduction of corruption levels is the responsibility of poor and wealthy nations alike. �Corruption is a massive drag on efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. It means wasted money, time and, ultimately, lives,� said Transparency International Chief Executive David Nussbaum. �Governments, especially those of the G8, need to move beyond paying lip service to the principles of accountability and transparency if they are determined to improve the lives of millions who live in poverty and instability.� Research has demonstrated unquestionably that corruption exacerbates and promotes a raft of development problems.

UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

On 5-6 September Peter Rooke, Transparency International Executive Director Asia Pacific, attended the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Task Force (ACTTF) meeting in Korea. UNODC is planning a series of regional seminars to encourage ratification of the UN Convention. The Asia Pacific one is likely to be held in January or February in either Bangkok or Sydney. In relation to ratification, it was reported in Korea that Australia should ratify this year and that all stages prior to parliamentary approval had been completed.
On 15 September 2005, the 30th ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption was deposited at the United Nations in New York. This first truly global tool in the fight against corruption will enter into force on 14 December 2005. This milestone has been reached despite the fact that, of the Group of Eight industrialised nations (G-8), only France has ratified this essential agreement. Transparency International Chief Executive, David Nussbaum said, �The next ratifications must include all the major industrialised countries, or the G-8�s pledges will be worth no more than the paper they�re printed on.�

Australian Federal Government � Money Laundering legislation

The Federal Government has come a step closer to formulating new legislation to combat money laundering in a third meeting on the topic with key industry representatives. Representatives from the financial services industry including the Financial Planning Association, the Investment and Financial Services Association and the Australian Bankers Association are concerned that the proposed rules, which are intended to stop the funding of terrorism, could impose over-burdensome costs on business. But according to the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and some of those who attended the third industry roundtable on September 1, there is still some way to go before any solid policy is agreed upon. So far financial services industry representatives have been happy with the government’s readiness to hear their concerns. Source: Money Management, Australia, 5 September 2005

UN action imperative to remove breeding ground for corruption

Transparency International has commented that the United Nations must initiate and cooperate fully with a major independent assessment of its anti-corruption rules and procedures in the wake of a 7 September 2005 damning report by the Independent Inquiry Commission on the Oil-for-food Programme. �Hamstrung by the absence of clear auditing, internal controls and accountability structures, the Oil-for-Food Programme was allowed to disintegrate into a cesspool of mismanagement and incompetence,� said Peter Eigen, chair of Transparency International. �These are classic conditions in which corruption can take root and flourish.� he UN Secretariat, and ultimately the Security Council, must take responsibility for their role in these failures, just as the mishandling of procurement in post-conflict Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority must also be acknowledged.

Oil producers ‘face bigger corruption threat’ as prices rise

World Bank Development News, 30 August 2005: Soaring oil prices will make it harder to persuade oil-producing developing countries to enforce transparency in their oil and mining industries, according to the head of an advisory group set up to push for such rules, reports The Financial Times (08/27). Peter Eigen, founder and chairman of Transparency International, said much progress had been made in encouraging countries to audit and publish their oil and mining payments – traditionally regarded as a locus of corruption. But speaking just before a meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) on Friday 26 August in London, Eigen said that the high cost of oil made malfeasance much more attractive.

International Conference on Engaging Communities, Brisbane, 14-17 August 2005

TIA Board member, Michael Ahrens reports: �About 2,000 people from all sectors and many from the region attended the conference. Several themes were explored, many in parallel. One was �Engaged Governance, Government, Local Government, Private Sector, Civil Society�. Sessions were conducted by representatives from the World Bank and by IFAD, the UN agency based in Rome for reaching the rural poor. Webcasts of conference sessions are available.

EthicsWorld Website

Frank Vogl, co-founder and former Vice-Chairman of Transparency International, has published a website, www.ethicsworld.com with the aim of bringing TI chapters and others together to share news and views. Frank Vogl writes, �We have no agenda except the exchange of information and knowledge to strengthen all in the fight against corruption. With your participation we can make a strong contribution in our common battle.� He asks for news and best practices so that anti-corruption fighters everywhere can benefit.

Coming Events

  • 3 November 2005: TIA AGM Sydney: 5pm – AGM, 5.30pm – refreshments, 6.00pm – distinguished guest speaker Justice Jerrold Cripps, the recently appointed Commissioner of ICAC. His topic will be New Developments and Issues for ICAC. Venue: PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Sydney.
  • 11-14 November 2005: TI Annual Members� Meeting, Berlin.
  • 28-30 November 2005: GovNet Conference, Melbourne: Themes include e-governance, ethics and the professions, the professions at war, and corporate governance.
  • 10-12 April 2006: 2006 IIPE Conference at Keble College, University of Oxford, UK. World Ethics Forum: Confronting Corruption: Codes, Conventions and the Quest for Integrity. Call for Papers – open until 3 December 2005. Contact the World Ethics Forum 2006 Secretariat: iipe@iarf.net