The international Corruption Perception Index released today scores and ranks 168 countries on how corrupt the public sector is perceived to be.
It is disappointing that Australia has fallen out of the top ten, says Flinders University corruption expert Professor Adam Graycar.
“Australia has consistently ranked in the top 10 (least corrupt) but has slipped to 13 this year, with its score down to 80, considerably below the 87 and 88 it was getting in 2010 and 2011.
“There is unease in the community about corruption in public life. There is also unease about the role of anti-corruption agencies such as the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption,” Professor Graycar says.
Activities such as the investigations of the NSW ICAC and the Victorian IBAC, the Trade Union Royal Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse show that much in Australia’s public life is well below the standard that we should expect.
“The more one does to expose corruption, the more corruption is perceived as a problem, so in some ways the successes of investigations have tainted Australia in this exercise.
“While the Index is about perceptions because corruption is almost impossible to measure, many countries rely on this perception index to help shape anti-corruption policy,” he says.
However, Professor Graycar does not see the creation of a single federal anti-corruption agency as an answer.
“Of the twelve countries that rank above Australia”, he said “only one, Singapore has a national anti-corruption agency,” he says.
“Progress will come with a blend of values and compliance mechanisms and strong leadership that makes corruption recognisable as such, and unacceptable in all aspects of public life,” he says.
Flinders University academic Professor Adam Graycar is a global expert in the analysis and prevention of corruption. He is currently working on integrity and corruption prevention in Australia and overseas, including with international agencies such as the United Nations (UNODC) and the World Bank.
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