Australia is more corrupt than ever, but the media stays quiet

Feb 3, 2022
canberra parliament house
(Image: Unsplash)

Australia has a deteriorating global corruption ranking — and the mainstream media is ignoring it entirely.

You won’t read about it in the mainstream Australian media. The story is missing from The Age and Sydney Morning Herald and a Google search reveals no coverage in any mainstream Australian media.

What is it that gets so ignored? Just the news that Transparency International (TI)’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has put Australia in 18th place — the worst result Australia has ever received since TI’s new methodology in 2012.

Since 2012 Australia’s score has dropped 12 points and our rank in the global index has plummeted 11 places (from 7th in 2012). Keen observers will note that in that period Coalition governments have been in power for eight of the nine years.

In contrast to our performance Papua New Guinea is improving and New Zealand shares equal first place.

Transparency International decided the index release timing and couldn’t be expected to take into account it was the day before Australia Day but you would think that someone in a newsroom somewhere in Australia might find the report newsworthy. They had a media release from the Transparency International Australia (TIA) CEO but that didn’t seem to excite any interest.

Serena Lillywhite, TIA CEO said in the media release on the report:

“Australia’s ranking on Transparency International’s global Corruption Perception Index has a hit a record low. The dramatic fall in Australia’s standing underscores the urgent need for the establishment of a national integrity commission with the full powers of a royal commission.

“Transparency International Australia has been sounding the alarm on Australia’s deteriorating global corruption standing for years. The latest results point to systemic failings to tackle corruption, foreign bribery and strengthen political integrity … as a matter of urgency.

“As we head into another federal election, political integrity and the health of Australia’s democracy should be a priority for every political candidate, party and voter.”

TIA has been calling for an effective national integrity commission for more than 10 years.

Lillywhite said:

“While we have been waiting for political action we have seen the rise and rise of the Australian public’s demand for national reform against corruption.

“In poll after poll, year after year, Australians have been stating loud and clear that they are concerned about the level of corruption and misconduct in Australian politics. Australians overwhelmingly want a strong national anti-corruption watchdog.

“Our record low score from TI’s global research proves that we cannot wait any longer. There is unfinished business – the federal government committed to establishing a commonwealth integrity commission more than three years ago — we need to act decisively to tackle corruption and restore trust and confidence in government and our democratic institutions.”

The Morrison government reason for inaction is obvious — it is the most corrupt government in our federal history and has far too much to hide and protect to allow a full investigation of its abysmal record. The Australian media seems to want to help them do so. But how come we are so inured to stories about corruption?

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