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Launch of global corruption report

Rich nations benefiting from corruption are making the poor even poorer

The first independent report on global corruption since the election of the Rudd Government says Australia’s foreign policy needs to cut off loop-holes in corruption battle.

The Uniting Church will today present the first major independent report on global corruption to the new government of Australia at Parliament House.

The report, From Corruption to Good Governance, challenges the role of wealthy nations and big business in fostering and benefiting from corruption. It calls on the Rudd Government to ensure that penalties for foreign bribery are adequate enough to deter bribery, to guarantee whistleblower protection for people that expose bribery and support greater global efforts to shut down tax havens.

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Rev Gregor Henderson said “corruption is an issue that hampers global efforts to deal with poverty and it needs efforts from all countries. Sadly, there are wealthy countries that continue to facilitate, reward and benefit from corruption in the developing world at the cost of the lives of those in poverty.”

One of the authors of the report and the Director of the Justice and International Mission Unit at the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Dr Mark Zirnsak said “there is a real need for a concerted global effort to shut down tax havens, whose secrecy and trust services provide a secure cover for laundering of proceeds of corruption, fraud, the illicit arms trade, other crime and the funding of terrorism.”

Amanda Johnson, National Coordinator of Micah Challenge Australia said “Stable democracies like Australia are blessed because we have tools to tackle corruption and we have strong media and civil society to highlight best practice and expose mistakes. We can encourage our neighbours who are struggling to cope with development pressures and poverty, to set standards of honesty and fairness too.”

Executive Director of Transparency International Australia, Michael Ahrens said “we strongly endorse the key messages of the report and applaud the impressive degree of research that has gone into covering this important topic. This type of research is vital.”

The report was produced by the Justice and International Mission Unit, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia, with assistance from TEAR Australia and the Micah Challenge campaign. It is endorsed by Christian World Service of the National Council of Churches in Australia.