Australia fails to improve ranking in global corruption index amid mounting push for federal watchdog

Photo: Australia's ranking on the international corruption index stabilises. Australia has maintained its position in a key corruption ranking, ending a four-year slide down Transparency International's global corruption ladder, but experts warn the reprieve may be short-lived if major reforms are not implemented.

Key points:

  • A lack of a federal corruption watchdog is among the reasons Australian failed to boost its ranking
  • Australia was also criticised for "unrelenting" attacks on the Human Rights Commission
  • Experts say protections for whistleblowers need to be strengthened

Vote Compass: Australians want a federal corruption watchdog, even though major parties don't

More than 80 per cent of Australians would welcome a federal corruption watchdog similar to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Vote Compass data shows.

The Coalition and Labor have both dismissed the idea, saying there are already safeguards in place.

Anthony Whealy QC, the chair of Transparency International in Australia, said the Australian people had wanted action on a corruption watchdog "for a long time".

"So far neither the Government or the Opposition have placed it on their agenda," he said.

ICAC Operation Credo finds Obeid, Tripodi, Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct

 Photo: Former NSW Labor ministers Tony Kelly (L), Eddie Obeid Snr and Joe Tripodi were found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct. (AAP) Map: Sydney 2000The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has recommended charges be considered against former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid Snr, Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly, after finding they engaged in serious corrupt conduct.

Key points:

  • Operation Credo probed allegations of corruption at Australian Water Holdings and Sydney Water Corporation
  • Several politicians from both sides of the aisle in NSW were investigated
  • Among the most high-profile scalps was former premier Barry O'Farrell, but no adverse findings were made against him

Federal politicians 'on the nose' after committee stops short of calling for federal ICAC

Parliament House in Canberra A parliamentary committee has stopped short of recommending a federal anti-corruption commission, which if adopted would have broad powers to tackle institutional, political and electoral wrongdoing.

Key points:

  • Proposed anti-corruption commission would be national equivalent of state agencies like ICAC
  • Transparency International slams decision as a missed opportunity to crack down on corruption
  • ABC's 2016 Vote Compass found majority of Australians supported a federal anti-corruption body

NHS contaminated blood was 'criminal cover-up'

A "criminal cover-up on an industrial scale" took place over the use of NHS contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s, former Health Secretary Andy Burnham has claimed.  More than 2,000 deaths have been linked to the scandal in which haemophiliacs and others were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from imported blood products, which came from donors like prison inmates in the US.  Speaking in the Commons, the Labour MP said victims were "guinea pigs".

Premier Mike Baird’s secret meeting with businessman found to be corrupt by ICAC

NSW Premier Mike Baird had a secret meeting a few weeks ago with Charif Kazal who in 2011 was found to be corrupt by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for bribing government official Andrew Kelly. There are a thousand reasons why Premier Baird should not have met with Mr Kazal so it is worth looking at in finer detail than the short mention in last week’s article on this website.

Mr Baird’s secret meeting becomes more interesting given Charif Kazal and his brothers had links to the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and have “forged close ties to the royal families of the United Arab Emirates, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai”. (Click here to read more)

In November 2015 Premier Magic Mike sold the NSW power network Transgrid for $10.26 billion to a consortium which is part owned by Middle Eastern government organisations that are notorious for paying bribes.

Mike Baird fiddles while we lumber towards more corrupt council elections

Legislation to tackle corruption in NSW at the local government level will come too late to protect voters, writes Justin Field.

For those NSW councils not embroiled in Mike Baird’s amalgamation quagmire, local government elections to be held this September will once again be the plaything of developers and vested interests.

For all the rhetoric, ICAC hearings and special inquiries, the Baird Government has failed to address key corruption risks and our democracy remains for sale.

You would think with admissions of brown paper bags in the back of a Bentley, the washing of illegal donations through federal Liberal Party fundraising vehicles and the outrageous situation on Auburn council, that laws to ensure developers can’t buy their way onto councils would have been a no brainer.