Open Government Partnership – Australia

1.4 - Combating corporate crime

Objective and description:

Australia will strengthen its ability to prevent, detect and respond to corporate crime, particularly bribery of foreign public officials, money laundering, and terrorism financing.

We will do this by pursuing reforms to relevant legislative frameworks, which will involve a process of public consultation.

Status Quo:

Australia has strong laws in place to deal with corporate crime.

We are a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and are due to be reviewed again under this Convention in 2017. The Criminal Code Act 1995 makes it an offence to bribe a foreign public official and sets out tough penalties for individuals and companies. While we have two sets of foreign bribery prosecutions underway, it is a challenging offence to enforce as the offending typically occurs overseas and can be difficult to proactively detect.

We also have a strong regime to fight money laundering and terrorism financing under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. A statutory review of this legislation was tabled in Parliament in April 2016 and the Government is considering its response.

We are also exploring new responses to corruption and corporate crime. In March 2016, we released a public discussion paper on a possible deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme in Australia. An effective DPA scheme could help encourage companies to self-report criminal behaviour and provide enforcement and prosecutorial agencies with a new tool to identify and bring corporate offenders to justice.

Ambition:

We will ensure that our laws applying to the bribery of foreign public officials, money laundering and terrorism financing are strong and there are no unnecessary barriers to effective prosecution.

We will consult publicly on the implementation of recommendations from the statutory review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and associated Rules and Regulations.

We will respond to the public consultation into whether a DPA scheme would facilitate more effective and efficient responses to bribery and corporate corruption by encouraging companies to self-report.

We will review the enforcement regime of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), to assess the suitability of the existing regulatory tools available to it to perform its functions adequately. 

Relevance:

This commitment will advance the OGP values of public accountability by:

  • strengthening Australia’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to bribery of foreign public officials, and meet its international obligations;

  • improving the effectiveness of legislation to fight money laundering and terrorism financing; and

  • encouraging companies to self-report criminal behaviour.

OGP Grand Challenge: 

  • Increasing Corporate Accountability

  • More Effectively Managing Public Resources

Timeframes:

December 2016 – 2019

Lead agency:

Attorney-General’s Department (CriminalLaw@ag.gov.au)

Other actors involved: 

  • Government - ACLEI, Australian Federal Police, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Treasury and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

  • Non-government - Industry, peak bodies (including Law Council of Australia), non-government organisations (including Australian Open Government Partnership Network, Accountability Round Table)and international partners

Milestones

  • AGD to review laws applying to foreign bribery and consult publicly on possible reform options.

    • December 2016- March 2017

  • Respond to the consultation on a possible Australian DPA scheme and consult on possible models.

    • December 2016 - July 2017

  • Consult publicly on the recommendations from the statutory review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and associated Rules and Regulations, and implement legislative reforms.

    • Commenced - 2019

  • Review ASIC’s enforcement regime.

    • Commenced - 2017