To coincide with International Anti-Corruption Day, the Attorney-General’s Department has today released a new online learning module to help combat foreign bribery and provide a much needed educational tool for the wider Australian business community.

International Anti-Corruption Day is observed by the United Nations annually on 9 December. This year's theme is ‘break the corruption chain’. The global campaign, developed jointly by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime focusses on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development. 

The module comes a week after Transparency International released its 2014 Corruption Perception Index, in which Australia has dropped from being perceived as the 9th least corrupt country in 2013 to the 11th least corrupt country out of the 175 countries surveyed this year. The results of the Index demonstrate a need for Australia to actively involve the wider community in positive steps to stamp out corruption and bribery in order to maintain Australia’s reputation within the international arena. 

The module is a measure taken by the government in its efforts to meet the recommendations made in 2012 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Working Group on Bribery concerning Australia’s implementation of the OECD Anti-bribery Convention. Those recommendations included the adoption of a whole-of-government approach to raising awareness of foreign bribery and further education and engagement with the business community about these issues. The recent launch of the Australian Federal Police’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre represents another step taken to identify and combat fraud and corruption.

The online module uses an interactive interface to provide information about anti-bribery policy, the relevant laws and how they apply, and steps that business can take to help promote compliance. Concepts such as the definition of ‘foreign public official’ are explained using graphics and easy-to-understand language. It is free to use and supports users with accessibility requirements. 

The module represents a useful tool for businesses and can be used, as part of an organisation’s broader anti-bribery framework, to educate employees about bribery and its criminal implications at both a national and international level. The module supplements a number of resources provided online by the Attorney-General’s Department, including a Foreign Bribery Information and Awareness Pack. These initiatives will be central to Australia’s report to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Working Group on Bribery taking place later this week.

The module is available online at: www.ag.gov.au/foreignbribery.