VIDEO: Needless secrecy and the joint fight against corruption

Australia must lift its game in the fight against corruption. The nation needs faster and more-visible law enforcement, increased disclosure and continued cooperation between business and anti-fraud groups.

That’s the opinion of two of Australia’s leading subject matter experts who spoke exclusively to BlueNotes on video.

" It is pretty obvious Australia’s reputation for corruption is slipping."
Phil Newman, It is pretty obvious Australia’s reputation for corruption is slipping.

“It is pretty obvious Australia’s reputation for corruption is slipping,” Transparency International Australia chief executive officer Phil Newman said. “One of the reasons we think that’s the case is because of a lack of enforcement of our foreign bribery laws.”

“What that does is drive an external perception that perhaps Australia isn’t as serious about that as it might be.”

Secrecy and the fight against corruption

The continued success of information-sharing partnerships between industry and groups like Transparency International and AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) are vital in the battle, National Manager International Operations AUSTRAC John Visser said.

“The intelligence we seek is buried in the information industry has,” he said. “It’s critical for us to tap in to the information [industry has] to complement the work we do with our partner agencies. Working with industry is absolutely pivotal to our success.”

Newman said international incidents like the recent release of the Panama Papers show a heightened sense of secrecy in the marketplace was driving an environment enabling shadowy activity.

“While there may be rogue operators, there may be systemic issues, for us the issue is… how much secrecy there is in the marketplace,” he said.

“You have to ask the question: is all that really necessary? And why is it there in the first place?”

Newman and Visser also touched on the increasing globalisation of financial transactions and how the fight against corruption is evolving with technology. Watch the video above to find out more.

Shane White is senior production editor at BlueNotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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