Straya in “notable” slide down corruption index

Hoocoodanode, from Transparency International:

Wrap from the ABC:

Australia has once again slipped in a global corruption index, suggesting Federal Government measures to crack down on bribery and the diversion of public funds are failing.

In a corruption perceptions study of 180 countries conducted by Transparency International, Australia ranked as the 13th least-corrupt nation, ahead of Hong Kong, while New Zealand won top ranking as the cleanest.

But in a disturbing trend, the index showed Australia’s corruption score had slipped eight points over the past six years, a trend which was described as a “notable decrease”.

Australia scored 85 out of 100 in 2012, and 77 out of 100 in 2017.

The lower the score, the higher the perception of corruption.

Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite said developed countries — including Australia — appeared to be lagging in their efforts to combat corruption in the public sector.

Ms Lillywhite cited a range of perception issues currently in the political and public sector spotlight in Australia that are damaging the nation’s push to be seen as a democracy where corruption is targeted and weeded out.

“The misuse of travel allowances, inadequate regulation of foreign political donations, conflicts of interest in planning approvals, revolving doors and a culture of mateship, inappropriate industry lobbying in large-scale projects such as mining, and the misuse of power by leading politicians have no doubt had an impact,” Ms Lillywhite said.

You don’t say.

Houses and Holes
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  1. So the head of the corruption watchdog in Australia is Ms Lillywhite? For real? There’s a case of nominal predestination if ever there was one.

  2. Good to see she mentioned the “culture of mateship”

    Seems like the Game of Mates has at least added to the lexicon.

    I wonder if shipping Barnaby back to NZ would push them 10 places down on the index?

    • If the rotten Chinese gooseberry went back the land of the long white cloud would turn grey.

      This data is old, so once Joyce is factored into next year’s results, it should see Straya deepen its position.

  3. From the Letters Fairfax Won’t Publish file:

    20 February 2018

    As a former investment banker who first got involved in the toll road business in 1988, let me tell you from 30 years experience that your editorials (The Age, 20 February 2018) on the flaws of private roads will have precisely zero effect on policy.

    For everyone except the long-suffering citizens this is a no-lose game. For the investment bankers, lawyers and accountants, it’s a make-work scheme allowing them to do at vast expense what the government used to do cheaply using government bonds. For the contractors, the lack of effective competitive tendering lets them make super-profits and pay themselves bigger bonuses.

    For the politicians and senior bureaucrats, it allows them to build public works without appearing to raise taxes or incur debt. The worst outcome for them is that they’ll be voted out at the next election in which case they simply take up their lucrative directorship or consultancy with one of the private sector players. And the other party will carrying on with exactly the same policy!

    The problem lies much, much deeper. The system of purely elective government – with a single vote (for a politician) every three or four years – is an entirely inadequate mechanism for holding politicians accountable to the people they rule.

    There is a solution in the form of a more direct democracy which improves accountability and reduces the “adverse selection” of unsuitable political agents.

    Sadly, however, there are still many people who would prefer any form of government – no matter how dysfunctional, no matter how corrupt – rather than contemplate the prospect of seeing their fellow citizens have an effective say in the government of their country or state.

    Unless and until that changes, there will be no remedy.

    Stephen Morris

    • Sounds like PPP.

      In the old days people got rich in the private sector and then turned to public service to help the country go forward.

      Now it’s the other way round: people go into public service to set themselves up for private sector riches — no real work involved at either end ..

    • Keep publishing regularly Stephen. Important to hear. And perhaps restorative penance for wrong vocation? No, I am not having a shot, Stephen. Show me the person who says he doesn’t need to make reparation and I will show you a fool.

  4. They missed a big shout out to “non-competitive public tenders with contract details and business case enshrined in secrecy owing to “commercial confidentiality” considerations. Par for the course in NSW.

    Right up there with “de-funding your anti-corruption commission when it dares to investigate one of your own party”.

    • Par for the course everywhere now. No competitive public tender and no disclosure of actual costs.

      How can that possibly be transparent.

      The also missed the biggest of all: the Westminster system’s routine bribery of legislators with the promise of Cabinet positions.

      The Westminster system has corruption at its very core.

  5. Yes! Good to see the index reflect reality.

    Britain used to be ranked worse than Australia and now look at it.

    Even Canada is ranked better than Australia now.

    Foreign “students” cheat on exams to come here and bribe professors once they get here in order to get what they do not deserve. That was not the case in 2004.

    • I wonder if we are starting to see “global corruption arbitrage” where our standards start to resemble those of the countries we attract most migrants from and do business with?

    • It’s funny that two of our biggest sources of migrants in recent years seem to rate highly on the most corrupt countries in the world rankings.

      Funny that.

  6. Lib/Lab/Greens only have to open their mouth for the corruption index to increase. Even what they won’t speak about spells volumes.

    • These are last year’s perceptions. This year you’ll slide faster.
      Here are some clues your country might be third world:
      – you can’t keep the lights on
      – your big city roads and railways are too congested to work
      – your educational standards are low and falling fast
      – your hospitals have year long waiting lists, and people die in ambulances waiting at emergency departments
      – your Internet speeds rank 56th in the world, below Kazakstan!
      – you have a small land-owning elite
      – your government distracts you with trivial issues same sex marriage, at the same time cracking down on freedom of the press.
      – many of your new homes are just high-rise slums
      – your politicians can easily be bought by foreigners or lobbyists.

      How did you score, Straya?

      • Kazakstan is well developed country which kept and multiplied production inherited from Soviet Union.
        People lived in better homes there 30 years ago then major Strayans now. They were improving all this time. In all ways.
        Find a country you personally lived in for comparison.

      • Said this for a long time.. We have a 3rd world structure to our economy getting worse by the year. Politicians divi’ing up the spoils amongst themselves and their mates, aiding and abetting asset prices to the detriment of the real people, selling off stuff to foreigners to balance the books, ignoring minimum wage standards which made Aus a great place to be a worker for a 100 years, ignoring science and engineering and so on. Time for a revolution.

    • Fish rots from head.
      From the observable clues, the corruption of Auzzie’s government is on the same level as of Russian’s.
      But index differs in 2 times.

      What does it mean? That Aussies believe their country is the best of all? Or they are badly informed? Or they don’t give a shit?

      • I never pay much attention to these BS perception indexes because perception and reality are very different. Corruption is everywhere, who cares, its the lives of ordinary people is what matters and on this count, all the western democracies are highly corrupt at the center which reflects the declining living standards for the ordinary pleb.

      • Western media controlled “perception index”….about perception not what actually is! Perhaps the protected “minority-chaps” who control western media (and of course their bureaucratic-beneficiaries) need a bit more PR to increase their leverage.

  7. The farce of no ICAC for federal matters, officials and politicians has to end. Can you really believe an ICAC with broad protections for whistleblowers and a compulsion of truthful answers would not uncover massive corruption in the billions of dollars of Commonwealth ex[enditure?

    • Those with long memories will recall that the first anti-corruption commission – NSW’s ICAC – was created as an election promise by Nick Greiner in 1988, largely in response to the controversy surrounding the awarding of hugely valuable non-tendered public works contracts in the latter years of the Unsworth Government.

      And in the 30 years since?

      Non-tendered public works contracts are now the norm!! They’ve simply been re-named “Market-led Infrastructure Proposals”. What was once “wrong” has simply been been re-defined to be “right”.

      State Treasurers publicly congratulate themselves on how much taxpayers money they can give away without the inconvenience of having to call competitive tenders.

      When they retire from office – or are thrown out – the Ministers and senior public servants responsible move into their million-dollar-a-year consultancies or directorships. No “anti-corruption” commission complaints. It’s a no-lose proposition. No lose, that is, for everyone but the long suffering taxpayers.

      As long as politicians make the rules, they will ensure those rules do not interfere too much with their own personal objectives.

      • Is it even solvable? Competitive tenders are seeking lowest bid, but sometimes you get what you pay for, so paying the least isnt the best option.

      • @Dan Yes, Casino Mike took advantage of his clean looks to do plenty of deals that seem dirty, whose details are kept almost totally secret from residents even though they affect our lifestyles and pocketbooks.

        I am happy that Borsak and Shoebridge are holding his feet to the fire on at least one of them. “Secrecy by default” is no way to win the trust of the electorate, and it must cease.

        For every piece of information, for any project, that they refuse to disclose, I’d like to see a specific reason WHY it is cabinet-in-confidence, or commercial-in-confidence, or whatever. “Cabinet-in-confidence” can be a label put on a reason not to disclose, but it should not be a reason in and of itself. Was the decision because there were words with more than 5 letters in the memo? Was the decision because something was sold for a song without a tender? Was the decision because the vendor of a service, not the government, requested it… and if so, why did the government accede to that request? Et cetera.

      • I think you will find that the Powerhouse Museum needed to be relocated because it was occupying a site that was much better suited to a Brothel. Nerds can easily take the train to Parramatta, scoring a root after a meal in Chinatown needs location, location, location.

  8. Ranking in 2016: 13
    Ranking in 2017: 13

    How exactly has “Australia …once again slipped in a global corruption index”?

    The points went from 79 to 77. But for the last 3 years the range has been 77-79. So compared to 2012 (at 85) the statements makes sense, but not with the qualifier “once again”. Once again, when?!

  9. reusachtigeMEMBER

    13th is way too high and still means that there are a lot of bureaucratic impediments to the freedoms of business to maximise profits! Somewhere in the middle around 90th or so would be fair balance I would say.

    • Australia refuses – as the only western nation – to enforce the anti-money laundering international agreement.

      There are no checks and balances on real estate in Australia – while you need to prove where money comes from to open a betting account, buy jewelry over $5k, in fact most things – you can buy a $5 Million dollar house with cash – no questions asked, even by Joe Hockey.

      We are the global home to money laundering for international crime and terrorism.

      But since we have not enforced this legislation – it is not considered in this index – while it is in all others.

    • Had heard them talking about this on the way to work today, and one of the things that stood out was that money laundering in real estate and the associated lack of action over the years was repeated quite a few times.