Transparency International’s landmark annual report, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide. It assesses the level of public sector corruption in each of the world’s 180 countries according to data sources from expert independent institutions.
This year’s report finds a link between a nation’s score on the CPI and public perceptions of corruption. Countries that perform well on the index invest more in health care, are better able to provide universal health coverage and are less likely to violate democratic norms and institutions or the rule of law. Countries with higher levels of corruption tend to be the worst perpetrators of rule of law and democratic breaches while managing the COVID-19 crisis.
The key lesson from Transparency International’s research is that strong democratic governance is essential to managing an equitable and effective COVID-19 response.
This year’s report has put Australia in 11th place, scoring 77 points on the 100-point scale. Australia’s score has dropped 8 points since our peak in 2012. For the past three years, we have remained stubbornly on 77 points. Australia has moved up a notch on the CPI rank, but this is due to the fact that Iceland has dropped down.
The past year highlighted integrity challenges among even the highest-scoring countries, proving that no country is free of corruption. To reduce corruption and better respond to future crises, Transparency International recommends that all governments:
- Strengthen oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti-corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources, and independence to perform their duties.
- Ensure open and transparent contracting to combat wrongdoing, identify conflicts of interest and ensure fair pricing.
- Defend democracy and promote civic space to create the enabling conditions to hold governments accountable.
- Publish relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information.