Australia

Corruption in Australia has worsened over the past eight years: International watchdog

General view of Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP

Australia's score in the Corruption Perception Index has remained steady over the past year, but the government has failed to rectify a "significant decline" of eight points in 2012.

The amount of perceived corruption in Australia has worsened "significantly" over the past eight years, according to the international Corruption Perception Index.

In a new report released on Thursday, Transparency International found more than two-thirds of countries had stagnated or declined in their anti-corruption efforts, particularly in countries where financing of political parties is open to undue influence. 

Australia scored the same as in the previous year, 77 out of a possible 100, which represents very little corruption, putting the country in 12th place internationally.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, of Transparency International.
Delia Ferreira Rubio, of Transparency International.
AAP

Since 2012, however, the country has failed to rectify a "significant decline" of eight points, the report said.

The report comes as the government deals with the fall-out of the "sports rorts" scandal, in which Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie was criticised by the Auditor-General for unfairly awarding sporting grants to Coalition and marginal seats ahead of last year's election. 

"Even in democracies, such as Australia and India, unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decisionmaking and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, result in stagnation or decline in control of corruption," the report read.

Twenty other countries, including Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nicaragua, have also failed to rectify a fall in their score. The United States also dropped two points to score 69 in the recent index; it's the lowest score in eight years.

“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International, said.

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”

Meanwhile, during the same eight-year period, only 22 countries "significantly improved" their scores, including Estonia, South Korea and Greece.

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Australia's neighbour New Zealand topped the ratings with a score of 87.

In order to limit increases in corruption, Transparency International issued a number of recommendations to governments including reinforcing separation of powers, controlling political financing, managing misinformation and strengthening electoral integrity. 

The CPI, introduced in 1995, is the leading indicator of public sector corruption across the globe. 

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