22 June 2023

TIA encourages amendments to foreign bribery laws, closing gaps that allow corrupt activities to flourish

Transparency International Australia welcomes the announcement of long overdue improvements to Australia’s foreign bribery laws.

Foreign bribery is the most damaging forms of corruption worldwide. It hurts democracy, the rule of law, and impacts economic development in poor countries.

As recent scandals show it is also a major reputational risk for companies. The Snowy Mountain Engineering Company and JBS Foods scandals are key examples of how foreign bribery distorts markets, increases costs of essential goods and services, and corrodes good governance.

The changes include, as proposed in the 2019 version of the Bill, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, which is a voluntary, negotiated settlement between a prosecutor and defendant which aims to increase self-reporting.

Australian companies involved in mining and infrastructure are particularly exposed to corruption risks, and the gaps in Australia’s foreign bribery framework.

Transparency International CEO Clancy Moore has said:

“We welcome the introduction of the legislation today, which has been proposed in the parliament on several occasions over the last few years, and encourage the government to go even further to combat foreign bribery.”

“In addition to the introduction of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, the government should repeal the ability of companies to claim ‘facilitation payments’ as a defence.”

“Australia has a poor track-record in prosecuting foreign bribery and our investigative and enforcement agencies are not sufficiently equipped to go after individuals.”

For more information contact:

Rebecca Mackinnon | Policy and Communications Manager