Historically, Australia has not been regarded as a particularly corrupt country. In 2012, Transparency International ranked Australia as the 7th least corrupt country in its Corruption Perceptions Index. This ranking has deteriorated six places in four years; in 2016, Australia landed in 13th place on the same index.
This sharp decline, in conjunction with continued revelations of corrupt conduct in the public, private and union sectors, has resulted in unprecedented national attention on corruption issues. As a result, the Australian federal government is currently considering a suite of reforms related to anti-corruption enforcement, including the introduction of deferred prosecution agreements, increased penalties for white collar crimes, the introduction of a new corporate foreign bribery offence, and the strengthening of whistle-blower protections.
Included in this suite of proposals, on 8 February 2017, the Australian Senate referred an inquiry regarding the establishment of a national integrity commission to a Select Committee, which was charged with the following goal: to examine whether a National Integrity Commission (“NIC”) should be established at the federal level to address institutional, organisational, political, electoral, and individual corruption and misconduct in the federal public sector. The Committee is required to report back on its findings to the Senate on or before 22 September 2017.
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Assessing Australia's National Integrity Framework: A New Way Forward,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/public_integrity/37