Complacency towards corruption our biggest threat
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand CEO Lee White FCA addresses Australia’s complacency towards corruption
- Too many organisations appear to lack integrity
- Without a code of ethics, our national values mean nothing
- Above all, we need to change our attitude towards corruption
We’re facing a significant issue, and we need to act now. Australia has been placed on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index’s “watch list”, published in January.
The Australian Financial Review’s recent report should set alarm bells ringing, not just across business but across society – from sporting groups to car manufacturers, from government departments to charities.
Too many organisations appear to lack integrity, while too many governing bodies fail to embrace good governance principles, such as transparency, openness and democracy.
Here are some facts and figures that Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand published in 2016.
- 300% increase in losses between 1997 and 2012 because of economic crime in Australia and New Zealand.
- 82% increase in fraud, bribery and corruption over $1m in Australia and New Zealand.
- 33% of NZ and 57% of Australian respondents to a survey reported experiencing economic crime in 2014.
Chartered Accountants ANZ’s Are Australia and New Zealand Corrupt? report stated principles such as transparency, openness and democracy.
Bribery and corruption may pose the greatest threat to global business. Without a code of ethics, or semblance of strong institutional integrity, our national values mean nothing.
Our reputation as a First World trading partner is tarnished.
Our reputation as a First World trading partner is tarnished, which affects who and how we trade with, and our economic prosperity.
Last year, Chartered Accountants ANZ called for some steps, which we believe will help mitigate corruption, including:
- increase transparency in awarding public sector contracts
- no public sector contracts for those with past convictions
- no public sector contracts for companies without corruption policies
- increase use of asset confiscation
- reward whistleblowers.
These are simple enough to implement. But above all, we need to change our attitude to corruption. No more complacency, but instead a rigorous response from businesses, sport and the public sector for zero tolerance.
This opinion piece was originally published in LinkedIn.