Australian Public Servants See Uptick in Corruption

Published: 11 January 2018

australiandollarThe Australian economy is hurt by corruption in the public service (Photo: Quince Media, CC0)

By Sinead Carolan

 Perceived corruption in the public service may have hampered Australia's GDP by as much as US$ 5.69 billion, or 4%, since 2012, estimates a study released on Wednesday by The Australia Institute, one of the country’s major think tanks.

This assessment came just as the Australian Public Service Commission released the results of their end-of-year survey, showing that 5% of public servants in the country have witnessed their colleagues acting in a corrupt manner. Of those respondents, 64% reported that they had witnessed cronyism and 26% said they had witnessed nepotism in the workplace.

Anthony Whealy, a former New South Wales supreme court judge and the chair of Transparency International Australia, said that the increase in reports of corruption was significant. A Guardian article on Tuesday explained that only 2.6% of public servants reported witnessing corruption in the 2013-14 survey and 3.6% of respondents in the survey from 2014-15.  Australia ranked seventh in Transparency International's index in 2012, but fell to 13th in 2016.

In September of last year, a parliamentary committee voted not to establish a federal anti-corruption commision, according to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, but a report released last month by the Centre for Policy Development found most Australian voters in favor of such a measure.

Australia Institute research director Rod Campbell said in a statement that corruption hurts Australia’s economy, explaining that it increases business costs and worsens inequality.