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How's the integrity: Australia nosedives in corruption rankings

Politics

Australia’s ranking on a world corruption index has taken a nosedive in what researchers say is a worrying development.

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According to the latest World Corruption Perceptions Index, Australia is ranked 18th out of 180 countries.

And on the 100-point scale, from cleanest to most corrupt countries, Australia sits at 73.

One decade ago, Australia scored 85 on the 100-point sale and was ranked seventh.

Civil society lobby group Transparency International warns anti-corruption efforts globally are stagnating.

Griffith University accountability expert, Professor AJ Brown, said Australia’s dramatic fall in the index makes it imperative to heed research into what reforms are needed and particularly bipartisan solutions for design of a new federal integrity commission.

Prof Brown is also a global board member of Transparency international, which produces the corruption index.

“The promised national integrity commission is becoming bogged down in partisan political debate, due to government confusion over what scope and powers are needed to strike the right balance, has clearly fed into this outcome,” Brown said.

“New, best practice public hearing powers can ensure such a commission is not turned into a kangaroo court and controls on the publication of initial complaints but not ultimate outcomes can strike the right balance,” he said.

As a Federal election looms, there are indications the Government plans a model with no public hearing powers for corruption issues involving parliamentarians and 80 per cent of the federal public sector.

Brown said Australia’s performance in future indexes would likely hinge on whether all parties properly heeded research supporting new solutions.

Transparency International Australia recently partnered with Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy and other agencies to devise an integrity reform blueprint. TI Australia says stalled reforms also explain Australia’s worsening result on the index.

TI Australia CEO, Serena Lillywhite, there was a need for decisive action to tackle corruption and restore trust and confidence in government and democratic institutions

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