The Global Corruption Barometer is a tool developed by Transparency International for checking how the public perceives public sector corruption. Whereas the Corruption Perceptions Index crunches the data on how expert analysts perceive corruption, the Barometer looks at how everyday people perceive it.
In 2018 Transparency International Australia partnered with Griffith University to check the public’s pulse when it came to their feelings about corruption at the local, state and federal levels of government.
We found Australians’ trust in government has continued to slide, driven particularly by growing concerns about corruption at the federal level.
Combined with Griffith University’s Australian Constitutional Values Survey, the in-person telephone poll of 2,218 adults, conducted in May-June, provides the first measure since 2012 of the growing impact of corruption on citizens’ trust and confidence in government. The survey shows:
- Trust & confidence in all levels of government fell in the last year, to 46% for federal and state levels and 51% for local government nationally
- Continued low levels of experienced bribery (less than 2%), but high concerns about officials or politicians using their position to benefit themselves or family (62%) or favouring businesses and individuals in return for political donations or support (56%)
- A 9 point increase since 2016 in perceptions that federal members of parliament are corrupt (85% at least ‘some’ corrupt, 18% ‘most/all’ corrupt) – placing them on par with state parliamentarians and worse than local officials.
Project leader Professor A J Brown, of Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy, said the results provide both a warning and an opportunity for Australian governments.
“We now see a stronger correlation between trust and action against corruption.”
“Well over a third of citizens’ total trust and confidence is now explained by whether they feel the government is doing a ‘good job in fighting corruption’ (37% at the federal level, 25% state).
“Continued slippage in the perceived integrity of federal officials clearly has a disproportionate effect on overall trust and confidence, nationwide.”