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Nick

Nick McKenzie

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: Victoria Community > Social Change
None > Defence And Security
To improve Australia's fight against bribery of foreign officials and asset seizure regime - USA, UK, Ireland
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Conclusion: Time for Action

The cost of failing to improve Australia’s anti-foreign bribery regime will be impunity for the corrupt, wasted aid dollars and poor development outcomes in our region, the continuance of an uneven business playing field and the erosion of national security aims.

The compelling case for reform is outlined clearly in this report. As stated in the executive summary, reforms must go well beyond a mere tweaking of existing laws.

Australia must overhaul its anti-bribery regime via a whole of government approach.

Reform is never easy. It is often expensive and politically challenging. But in this case, the path for reform is clearly set out. Australia is able to look to the US and the UK to adopt the best of each regime as we improve our own system.

A successful regime in Australia must lead to meaningful outcomes, including prosecutions or deferred prosecutions agreements, for companies and individuals who pay bribes to win contracts. This will ensure a level of accountability for the corrupt and help deter future crimes. It will also prompt businesses to reassess the cost of paying bribes and begin to rethink a culture in which bribe paying is often viewed as simply the cost of doing business.

Australia need not wait for another corporate corruption scandal to act, although if that is what it takes to prompt reform, readers of this report can be certain such scandals are coming down the track- and fast.

This report has been submitted to the Senate Committee on Foreign Bribery. It will also be used to inform media reporting by the author and sent to key officials and figures involved in the debate around reforms.

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