Open Government Partnership – Australia

4.2 - National Integrity Framework

We will collaborate with the corporate sector, non-government organisations and the public to strengthen our national anti-corruption and integrity framework.

Objective
Australia will strengthen our ability to prevent, detect and respond to bribery and corruption. As part of this, we will regularly review the jurisdiction and capabilities of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the Australian Federal Police’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre to ensure they can focus on protecting Commonwealth agencies from risks of corruption.

Status Quo
The Government takes a multi-faceted, multi-agency approach to combating corruption, under which a range of agencies play a role in preventing, detecting and responding to corruption. We have strong laws applying to bribery and corruption which carry significant penalties.

ACLEI is responsible for preventing, detecting and investigating serious issues of corruption in agencies within its jurisdiction. ACLEI’s jurisdiction focusses on protecting environments that are most at risk of criminal compromise—namely, border regulation and law enforcement.

The Integrity Commissioner considers the nature and scope of corruption revealed by investigations, and reports annually on any patterns and trends in corruption in Australian Government law enforcement and other government agencies which have law enforcement functions. Accordingly, ACLEI collects intelligence about corruption in support of the Integrity Commissioner's functions.

ACLEI also aims to understand corruption and prevent it. Where the Integrity Commissioner identifies laws of the Commonwealth or administrative practices of government agencies that might contribute to corrupt practices or prevent their early detection, he or she may make recommendations for these laws or practices to be changed.

As a practitioner agency, ACLEI engages actively with other government agencies and civil society (nationally and internationally) to collect and share information to strengthen anti-corruption arrangements in Australia and abroad. ACLEI’s dissemination program of Information Reports is one means by which the Integrity Commissioner transmits timely intelligence to relevant agencies, such as to police and other integrity agencies. ACLEI and the AFP Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre (FACC) also cross-refer information to one another, and assist one another with corruption prevention activities.

In 2014, the Government established the FACC located in the AFP headquarters to bring together a range of Commonwealth agencies to assess, prioritise and respond to serious fraud and corruption matters, including across Commonwealth services, programs and employees. The FACC draws on the collective knowledge of agencies to provide sound contemporary advice in relation to potential fraud threats relevant to new government funding initiatives prior to their implementation. In April 2016, the Government provided an additional $15 million to the FACC to enhance its capacity to detect and investigate corruption, bribery and serious economic crime.

Between the FACC and ACLEI, there is significant coverage of fraud and corruption across Australian Government agencies, with a particular focus on areas of high-corruption risk.

The Government has reviewed ACLEI’s jurisdiction on a number of occasions in the past and extended its jurisdiction where a need was demonstrated.

In May 2016, the Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity reported on its inquiry into ACLEI’s jurisdiction. Many public submissions have advocated extension of its coverage to the entire public sector. The Committee recommended the Government extend ACLEI’s jurisdiction to include the entire Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and examine the feasibility of including the Australian Taxation Office within ACLEI's jurisdiction. The Government is considering the report’s recommendations.

The Government is also exploring new responses to corruption and corporate crime. In March 2016, the Government released a public discussion paper on a possible deferred prosecution agreement scheme in Australia. An effective deferred prosecution agreement 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
To aim to improve Australia’s score on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

To regularly review the jurisdiction and capabilities of ACLEI and FACC, and extend these on an as-needs basis.

To consult closely with industry, non-government organisations and the public to ensure that our law, policies and frameworks for responding to corruption are effective, including through holding the first government business roundtable on corruption in 2017. We will also 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.

To ensure that our laws applying to the bribery of foreign public officials facilitate effective prosecution.

To assess whether a deferred prosecution agreement scheme would facilitate more effective and efficient responses to bribery and corporate corruption by encouraging companies to self-report.

Relevance
This commitment will advance the OGP values of access to information and public accountability by:

  • improving the effectiveness of our legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks; and
  • protecting the integrity and transparency of the execution of public policy and management.

OGP Grand Challenge

  • Increasing Public Integrity

Timeframes
End 2016 – 2019

Lead agency
Attorney-General’s Department

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, organisations outside of government and international partners

Milestones

  1. Review laws applying to foreign bribery.
    • End - Early 2017
  2. Respond to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ACLEI’s inquiry into the jurisdiction of ACLEI.
    • May 2016 - End 2016 / Early 2017
  3. Respond to the consultation on a possible Australian deferred prosecution agreement scheme and consult on possible models.
    • End 2016 - Mid 2017
  4. 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.
    • October 2016 - 2019
  5. Hold the first Government business roundtable on corruption.
    • First half of 2017
  6. Consider options arising from the roundtable.
    • Mid 2017
  7. Ongoing review of jurisdiction and capabilities of ACLEI and FACC.
    • Ongoing