Developing the National Anti-Corruption Plan
Thank you for inviting me to speak to the Corruption
Today I would like to talk briefly about the National Anti-
Corruption Plan, including the rationale and purpose for
developing the Plan, and the structure of the Plan.
However, first I would like to mention some key
international and domestic developments that are driving
greater policy attention on the fight against corruption.
Definitions of corruption abound but a commonly agreed
version is ‘the abuse of power for private gain’. Corruption
affects both the public and private sectors and can be
facilitated by bribery, embezzlement, money-laundering,
nepotism and cronyism.
Internationally, anti-corruption efforts are gaining increased
Upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa continue to
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demonstrate the tragic and powerful role of corruption
behind political instability and violence.
Indeed, the lessons of the Arab Spring were an important
theme of the recent Conference of States Parties to the UN
Convention against Corruption (or ‘UNCAC’), held in
Morocco in October.
Many speakers commented on the high expectations that
communities have of political leaders to prevent corruption
and tackle it when it occurs.
This same political backdrop promoted a strong focus
on effective asset recovery, with many countries calling for
stronger international cooperation to trace, confiscate and
return the proceeds of corruption.
Many speakers also commented on the key role that anti-
corruption initiatives must play in achieving the Millennium
Indeed, the UN General Assembly’s 2010 report Keeping the
promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development
Goals highlighted how corruption diverts precious resources
away from education, healthcare, poverty eradication, and
the fight against hunger.
Corruption also has national security implications.
The Australian Crime Commission’s 2011 report Organised
Crime in Australia analysed the international convergence of
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corruption, political instability and violent extremism.
The interdependence of corruption and organised crime
provides an enabling environment for moving and
exchanging drugs, arms, people, stolen or pirated goods
and for funding criminal and extremist activities.
The Crime Commission’s report also found that states with
high levels of corruption feature prominently among failed,
failing and rogue states ― and that such states are a
breeding ground for both transnational organised crime and
The Global Financial Crisis is yet another driver of
international anti-corruption efforts.
By placing further strain on government budgets, the
financial crisis confirmed the need to protect developing
country budgets, and the global financial system, from
abuse by corrupt leaders and officials.
The crisis prompted G20 Leaders to create an Anti-
Corruption Working Group, with an ambitious work plan.
The G20 plan includes stronger measures to prevent
corruption-related money laundering, stronger international
legal cooperation, and denial of visas and safe haven to
G20 Leaders also persuaded international organisations to
increase their focus on anti corruption efforts, particularly
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the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD.
The National Anti-Corruption Plan will outline Australia’s
efforts to disrupt international corruption, including how
Australia will meet its obligations under the G20 Anti-
Corruption Action Plan.
[Domestic policy developments]
While Transparency International consistently rates
Australia as one of the ten least corrupt countries in the
world ― and one of the least likely countries to engage in
foreign bribery ― we cannot afford to be complacent.
Indeed, Australia is entering a period of close scrutiny, and
debate, regarding its approach to combating corruption:
First, the review of Australia’s compliance with UNCAC
will present opportunities to ensure our domestic regime
is in line with global best practice
Second, the OECD review of Australia’s compliance with
the foreign bribery convention in 2012 will focus attention
on Australia’s performance in combating foreign bribery
Third, various stakeholders have identified potential
improvements in the Commonwealth integrity system.
In July 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
recommended that the Australian Government review the
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Commonwealth’s integrity system, including the merits of
establishing a Commonwealth integrity commission with
anti-corruption oversight of all Commonwealth public
Finally, Australia has endorsed the G20 Anti-Corruption
Action Plan and is committed to its domestic
implementation. The APEC Anti Corruption Task Force
also carries accountable anti-corruption obligations and
opportunities for Australia.
[Objectives of the National Anti-Corruption Plan]
With such international and domestic developments in mind,
the Minister for Justice announced in September the
development of the National Anti-Corruption Plan.
The Plan will serve several important objectives.
1. First, it will provide a clear statement of our whole-of-
government approach to combating corruption.
Australia adopts a multi-agency approach to anti-
corruption, in which a number of agencies have
specialised functions and responsibilities. However, there
is currently no stated policy to outline these governance
2. Second, it will clarify Commonwealth agency roles and
responsibilities, including an examination of options to
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improve leadership and coordination of policy and
3. Third, it will address any challenges or issues raised in
the review of Australia’s compliance with UNCAC and in
the G20 Action Plan, and
4. Fourth, it will define and address corruption risks – such
as those identified by:
o the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic
o the Australian Crime Commission’s report Organised
Crime in Australia
o the Auditor-General’s recommendations regarding the
management of financial risk in foreign aid delivery,
o allegations of foreign bribery involving Australian
The Plan will also explain the Government’s pro-integrity
policy and program initiatives, such as:
creation of the Office of the Australian Information
major Freedom of Information reforms
new whistleblower protections in the Public Interest
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stronger penalties against foreign bribery
new fraud control guidelines
the new APSC Ethics Advisory service
Australia’s support for the new International Anti-
Corruption Academy, and
substantial new funding for the UNCAC Implementation
Review Mechanism, the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative
(StAR), and Australia’s role as the highest single
contributor to the Extractive Industry Transparency
While the Plan will focus on arrangements at the
Commonwealth level, we are interested in talking to the
State and Territory organisations to examine options for
greater collaboration across Australian jurisdictions.
[Process of developing the National Anti-Corruption Plan]
The National Anti-Corruption Plan will be developed in two
Stage 1, completed in March 2012, produced a policy
statement of Australia’s existing anti-corruption
arrangements, and highlight a range of reforms
implemented since 2007. I highly recommend this
discussion paper to you as a useful resource in your work to
combat corruption. A copy is available from the AGD
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Stage 2, to be completed by mid- 2012, will present a Plan
for future directions, including the Government’s response
to the UNCAC review, the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan,
the results of stakeholder consultations, and a corruption
risk profiling exercise which the Department will lead.
A critical part of the development of the National Anti-Corruption
Plan is establishing what the most significant corruption risks
facing the Commonwealth are, and ensuring we are adequately
equipped to address them.
The Department has begun this conversation within government
and with civil society.
Apart from the important risk profiling work we have also
engaged the Australian Institute of Criminology to develop a
picture of corruption in Australia. This is an important piece of
work that will assess a wide range of public sources to present
an accurate picture of corruption - both in terms of actual cases
of corruption, and major sources of complaints concerning
The Government is committed to working with all
stakeholders, including business, civil society and relevant
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authorities in Australian jurisdictions to produce the
National Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
We held our first public consultation event on 9 December
2011 and will hold another one in June this year.
We also invited the public to submit their views on what the
National Anti-Corruption Plan should look like. We received
18 submissions from a range of NGOs, sporting and
religious bodies, academics, professional associations and
I’d invite you to lease consider making a submission, or
encourage others to do so.
We are particularly interested in your views on
How the Commonwealth’s policy coordination and
leadership be improved?
The most important corruption threats to Commonwealth
interests? To what extent is the Commonwealth
vulnerable to those threats and what is the capacity of
our existing mechanisms and institutions to counter
Are risk mitigation strategies adequate? If not, how
could they be improved?
And anything else about Commonwealth anti-corruption
policies, programs or organisational arrangements that
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stakeholders wish to raise.
Purpose of this meeting
Today is not about going line by line through the risk profiles, nor
examining them in any great detail. Detailed comments and editing
of risk profiles will be handled out of session.
This first meeting is more about:
inviting agencies to talk about their initial draft findings about
sharing your initial thinking about mitigation strategies, gaps
and recommendations, and
identifying any remaining risks to be profiled.
More generally, today is an important opportunity to facilitate a
whole-of-government discussion on these risks so that further work
can be undertaken offline in developing recommendations.
Our facilitator Peter Murphy will now lead us through today’s agenda:
We’ve asked each agency tasked with leading the development
of a risk profile come prepared to give a 5 minute (maximum)
outline of the nature of the risk, and proposed
Following the brief introduction by the lead agency there will be
opportunity for discussion.
After today’s meetings, further work will be undertaken offline in
finalising these risk profiles with a further IDC to be held in the coming
months to agree recommendations.
I would like to thank you for your very valuable contributions to this
Over to you, Peter.
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