Australia shows slight improvement annual Corruption Perception Index, months after legislating the NACC

Australia shows slight improvement annual Corruption Perception Index, months after legislating the NACC

KEY POINTS: Australia recovers slightly in latest global corruption index. It fell to the lowest point in last year’s survey. First federal anti-corruption watchdog to come into force. A year after recording its worst ever result in a major international corruption ranking, Australia is showing signs of recovery. But the message from transparency advocates is clear: don’t get complacent.

Transparency International (TI) released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Tuesday, showing Australia is still far behind its position a decade ago, despite rising five places to 13th overall.

Chart showing Australia’s corruption ranking relative to other countries.

The index, which surveys anti-corruption experts and business people on their views of corruption, showed Denmark leading the 180 countries, with Somalia at the bottom. Two months after that, Australia scored 75 out of 100, an improvement of two points on its lowest ever result a year earlier. But it remains ten points behind where it ranked in 2012, when TI adopted its current way of measuring performance.

TI Australia chief executive Clancy Moore said the results suggested Australia might be turning a corner after a “decade of democratic backsliding”, but warned “a whole of government strategy” was needed to reverse its previous status. repair.

Labor introduced Australia’s first ever federal anti-corruption watchdog. Source: AAP / AAP

These include stronger protections for whistleblowers, a crackdown on lobbyists’ influence over politics, and real-time disclosure of political donations, he said. “It is [grounds for] cautious optimism … I think the risk is that after the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the government can just rest on its laurels, and we don’t see the changes that we need and that people voted for,” he said. said .”Australia should lead … we need to be back to where we were in 2012.” The federal government has put plans to strengthen whistleblower protection before a parliamentary inquiry, the Human Rights Law Center warned on Monday against a “piecemeal approach”. AJ Brown, Griffith University’s professor of public policy and law, said Labour’s plan, while welcome, did not go far enough to ensure that complainants of sexual harassment in the workplace were protected.

“This must be rectified… We also call on the government to ensure a comprehensive approach by extending whistleblower protection to parliamentary staff… and ensuring that civil servants who report concerns about corruption within their agency.. . be fully protected,” he said.

What were the results around the world?

The index put Denmark at the top of 180 nations surveyed with 90 out of 100. It was now followed in second place by Finland and New Zealand (87 out of 100). Somalia (12) dropped three places to last, below Syria and South Sudan (13). A report by the local anti-corruption organization Marqaati last month exposed a crisis in Somalia and said that more than $8 million in international aid could not be accounted for in 2020. was “performing at best”, it said. “There is little indication of that [foreign aid] have a positive influence. Money was stolen as usual; elections rigged as usual; political opponents harassed and attacked as usual; and democratization unimproved as usual,” the report said.

“Not only were kickbacks the norm, but some officials were also believed to be shadow owners of companies to whom they awarded contracts.”

Chart showing the results of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 by region.

Australia’s region

Western Europe is the world’s least corrupt region, with an average score of 66. It was followed by the Asia-Pacific (45), the Americas (43), the Middle East and North Africa (38), and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (35).

Sub-Saharan Africa was last, its best-performing country, Seychelles, scoring 70.

Chart showing the results of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 in the Asia Pacific.

The report claims countries in the Asia-Pacific continue to focus on “economic development” at the expense of anti-corruption efforts. It found Fiji’s score of 53 offered some hope for the future, but described the crackdown on journalistic freedoms during 2022, an election year, as a “warning sign”. Mr Moore warned corruption in the Asia-Pacific posed a “direct threat” to national security, and urged Australia to prioritize promoting democracy and accountability in its dealings with regional powers. He said that New Zealand, the region’s best performing country, enjoys particularly high trust in public officials.” It is quite clear that Australia has a large number of political [and] corruption scandals over a decade, which meant that the people’s confidence in the government has declined,” he said.

“The people being interviewed [in the index] – the experts, academics and business people – pick up on that public sentiment… It’s really the performance of governments over that period that is reflected.”

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