Improving Australia’s corruption rating is a collective community and business issue

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

Figure 1: Map showing levels of corruption by nation state [data source Transparency International’s global corruption index, image sourced from Visual Capitalist].

Whilst Australia still maintains one of the best ratings in the world in regards to it performance on government corruption, we are among the most significant nations to be showing a negative downward trend. We’ve fallen from 8th in 2012 down to 13th place in 2018 according to Transparency International’s global corruption index.

Figure 2: 2018 Corruption Perception Index shows Australia declining in the index whilst still being amongst the least corrupt nations in the world. [data source Transparency International’s global corruption index.

The challenging question is first of all why and then, what does this mean for businesses and society and also for Perth developing into a Global City.

Many experts consider this decline to be primarily due to a culture that is becoming more lax about holding ourselves accountable for corrupt acts and less likely to take action in cases of corruption.

This emerging tolerance towards corruption may be the result of lower expectations towards our elected officials. In a recent study there has been a doubling over the past three years of public servants claiming to observe a colleague acting in a corrupt manner. The study found one in 20 to claim to have observed this corruption.

There is also strong correlation between strong democracy and low corruption. The chart below visually demonstrates this correlation, with full democracies tending to also score highly in regards to low levels of corruption.