30 January 2024

Australia’s corruption fight is at the crossroads

Australia maintains score of 75/100 in latest global corruption rankings

Australia’s corruption fight remains at a crossroads according to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index that ranks Australia at 14th place with 75 points on the 100-point scale.

Australia has maintained its score from last year but still lags woefully behind where we were (85/100) just a decade ago. If we are to continue to climb back up the ladder, anti-corruption reform must be a priority for the Albanese Government in 2024.

Transparency International Australia CEO, Clancy Moore said:

“The Albanese government has laid promising foundations including the historic National Anti-Corruption Commission, promises of electoral reform and the Open Government Action Plan but there’s a new chapter waiting to be written in 2024.”

“Australia can become a global leader in the fight against corruption. This means reducing the influence of big money in politics, delivering on whistleblower protections, and passing long overdue legislation to crack down on foreign bribery and money laundering.”

“Unfortunately, last year saw corruption allegations against former MP Stuart Robert, the PWC scandal, Robodebt and foreign bribery claims against government contractors in Nauru and PNG.”

The CPI assesses perceptions of public sector corruption worldwide in 180 countries annually. Overall, Asia-Pacific is in decline over the last decade where the regional average is 45. New Zealand (85) ranks number 3 in the world, with Singapore (83), Indonesia (34), Solomon Islands (43) and PNG (29) showing democratic backsliding and stagnation.

In 2024, there is a senate inquiry into lobbying and expectations the government will introduce changes to increase transparency of political donations and the lower the threshold for reporting donations.

The views of the 9 independent data sources and thousands of experts that make up the CPI’s Australian score are in line with recent polling conducted by Transparency International Australia showing 76% of Australians think corruption in government is a ‘quite big’ or ‘very big’ problem.[1]

Transparency International Australia Chair and Griffith University public integrity expert, Professor A J Brown AM said:

“Corruption comes at a huge cost to society. Opaque lobbying laws disguise the fact that rich individuals and organisations can buy access to politicians, leaving other voices unheard, and eroding public trust.”

“Citizens who blow the whistle on corruption and other wrongdoing play a hugely important role in preventing harm. Delivering on a whistleblower protection authority is one of the next key steps to restoring Australia’s anti-corruption reputation.”

[1] The Global Corruption Barometer is a tool developed by Transparency International for checking the public’s lived experience of public sector corruption. Since its debut in 2003, the Global Corruption Barometer has surveyed the experiences of tens of thousands of people confronting corruption around the world.

In 2023, polling for the Global Corruption Barometer in Australia was conducted by YouGov from a nationally representative sample of 1064 Australians aged over 18 between 17-21 November 2023.

View the full CPI 2023 report and results for our country and region.