December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD), and each year the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime present a new IACD campaign. This year’s theme seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development. The 2022 IACD also marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). This is also reflected by the theme of the day, UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption.
UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption
At the core of IACD 2022 is the idea that tackling anti-corruption is the right and responsibility of everyone, and that only through cooperation and the involvement of each and every person and institution can we overcome the negative impact of this crime. Over the next year, culminating with IACD 2023, UNCAC – along with partners across the globe – will reflect on a world made better because of the collective push afforded by the Convention, and, importantly, consider what gaps remain preventing a truly strong mechanism for current and future generations.
As part of its campaign, this year UNCAC has released a series of short videos that can be viewed and shared to help unite the world against corruption. The videos cover a series of themes including:
- Empowering youth through education: highlights the fact that access to education helps young people recognise and reject corruption, act with integrity, make ethical choices, lead by example, and demand accountability from leaders and decision makers.
- Promoting freedom and human rights: shows good governance and a rejection of corruption is the foundation of development, peace and security.
- Safeguarding sports: to prevent the crime and corruption that threaten the positive impact sport can have on cultural, educational, social and economic spheres.
- Encouraging judicial integrity: to ensure an independent, impartial and inclusive judicial system that stands firm against corruption and protects people’s right to a fair trial.
- Bolstering gender equality: to improve women’s participation in decision-making, economy and politics to create a more equal and inclusive world.
- Advancing business integrity to reduce corruption in the private sector, which reduces the quality of products, erodes fair competition, and increases costs.
- Protecting the environment: to ensure the flourishing of Earth’s rich flora and fauna to keep ecosystems functional and healthy so all species survive.
Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission
On 28 September 2022, the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 and National Anti-Corruption (Consequential and transitional Provisions) Bill 2022 were introduced to parliament. According to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, ‘the Bills will establish the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and provide for the transitional arrangements for the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to be subsumed into the NACC.’
The NACC will have broad jurisdiction to investigate public sector corruption, as well as prevention and education functions to bolster anti-corruption efforts in the Commonwealth public sector. Subject to the passage of the legislation, the NACC is expected to be established in mid-2023.
Transparency International Australia first called for a national integrity commission in 2005, and on 30 November, 2022, Prime Minister Albanese posted the following message on Twitter: “#BREAKING our National Anti Corruption Commission has just passed Parliament. Today is a win for Honesty. For Accountability. For Integrity. And for Trust.”
An historic step for Australia, this is also an historic step globally, Professor Brown, Centre for Governance & Public Policy, Griffith University, said recently. Many Asian, eastern and European countries have specialist anti-corruption agencies, “but Australia is one of the first OECD countries to adopt such a far-reaching model at national level. Most others – like the United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand – still rely on traditional law enforcement agencies to root out official corruption, using just the criminal law.”
And while controversies around NACC remain, namely the removal, definition, and or threshold of “exceptional circumstances” in relation to public hearings; the scope of corruption that the NACC can address; and whether the Commission will be truly independent, progress on the establishment of the NACC has been hailed by experts, and civil society alike, with support from all sides of politics.
“There are still lessons for Australia to learn, to protect and sustain its anti-corruption bodies against the huge political challenges that go with their role,” Professor Brown concluded.
“However it’s gratifying to know that an engaged, evidence-based approach to policy and legislative development, undertaken in partnership with civil society, government policymakers, political actors and professional bodies can yield such practical results for Australia and lessons which will echo worldwide.”
How you can participate in IACD 2022
WEBINAR: Join Jon Faine AM and outgoing IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich AM KC for their In Conversation lunchtime Zoom today, 9 December 2022 from 1-2pm on International Anti-Corruption Day. Commissioner Redlich will reflect on his five-year tenure at IBAC, and discuss what is needed to prevent corruption in Victoria in the future. This event is open to the public and will be live captioned and Auslan interpreted. Register here.
SOCIAL MEDIA: You can use the hashtags #UnitedAgainstCorruption and #IACD2022 on all digital platforms for IACD activities. Also, the hashtag #UNCAC20 will be used to mark UNCAC at 20 starting today on IACD 2022, and then throughout 2023 until IACD 2023.
- A fairer, more transparent and more trustworthy system of government (Transparency International Australia, May 2022)
- Australian Commission of Law Enforcement Integrity
- Australia’s national anti-corruption agency arrives. Will it stand the test of time? (The Conversation)
- Australia’s new national anti-corruption body a testament to Griffith research and perseverance (Griffith News)
- International Anti-Corruption Day – 9 December 2022
- International Anti-Corruption Day – About the campaign
- National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation passes Senate with amendments, paving way for its establishment (ABC News)
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria.
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