Anti-bribery laws – compliance
issues in Australia
Department of Business Law and Taxation,
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to examine the scope of the legal responses to bribery and
particularly foreign bribery in the global context. It identies the corrosive effect of bribery and its negative
effect on the economy, before turning to Australia’s mixed response to foreign bribery.
Design/methodology/approach –The paper is theoretical in nature as a review of policy, and the
literature has been the main method used for analysis. Given the increasingly transnational and organised
nature of foreign bribery, this paper adopts a comparative approach using Australia as the home base with
some comparisons with the UK and the USA.
Findings –This paper nds that Australia’s response to foreign bribery is improving from a low base, and
that this is recognised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Further improvement
could be expected if there were strong government leadership and coordination of law enforcement
authorities, including the police, corporate regulators and corruption authorities at the Commonwealth, state
and territory levels. This paper acknowledges the work of Australia’s unnished Senate Foreign Bribery
Inquiry, which is due to report by 30 June 2017.
Practical implications –This paper revisits the debate on bribery and the response of law enforcement,
highlighting the importance of effective and coordinated law enforcement. The paper will provide background
for those analysing the issues with foreign bribery and the solutions for law enforcement.
Originality/value –The paper enables the reader to gain insights into the problems and causes and effects
of foreign bribery. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to, and facilitate, further analysis of the most
effective way to deal with bribery and the legal response.
Keywords Anti-bribery law enforcement, Anti-foreign bribery law in Australia,
Comparative anti-bribery law, Compliance standards, ISO37001 Anti-Bribery Management System,
Paper type Research paper
Bribery motivates people to make a decision that they may not have otherwise made. In the
words of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bribery is “the act or practice of giving or taking
abribe” where a bribe is inter alia “something that serves to induce or inuence”. In other
words, the purpose of bribery is to corruptly induce or inuence a judgment or action.
Bribery has a corrosive effect on society and economic development. As such, it
undermines democracy, good governance and the rule of law. It distorts market forces and
international competitive conditions and paves the way for organised crime and terrorism. In
short, bribery raises serious moral and political concerns.
Favours and payments under whatever name are prohibited by anti-bribery laws.
Bribery targeted by anti-bribery laws includes cash bribes paid to government ofcials. It
This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 33rd International Symposium on Economic Crime
at the University of Cambridge in September 2015. The Department of Business Law and Taxation is
one of the organising institutions of the Symposium.
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Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.24 No. 1, 2017
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