Australian Government Resources


Australian laws governing anti-bribery and corruption operate at both the Commonwealth and state and territory levels. These laws can apply to individuals and companies for bribery and corruption both inside and outside Australia. Multiple government agencies (such as ASIC, Austrade and the Attorney-General’s Department) have released useful resources providing practical guidance on how to comply with your anti-bribery and corruption obligations – many of these resources are collated in this section.  Develop an understanding of relevant Australian legislation and build your awareness of your legal obligations through these government resources. Learn about the risks of bribery and corruption in international transactions, and how you can prepare your business for the introduction of proposed laws that will require companies of all sizes to have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery of foreign public officials. Find out more about a proposed deferred prosecution agreement scheme for certain corporate offences.

Resources from the Australian Government

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Effectively communicate bribery prevention policies and procedures to internal and external stakeholders. Practical recommendations on what communications should cover are included in this resource. Understand where training on bribery prevention policy and procedures should be focussed to mitigate the risks of bribery and maximise awareness of business policy and procedures. This resource forms part of Austrade’s suite of anti-bribery materials.

In 2011, two subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia plead guilty to charges of bribing foreign officials in relation to a Malaysian bank during the period of 1999-2004 and were fined over A$22 million. Four employees, including the CEO and CFO of Securency, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to bribe and/or false accounting, each receiving between 6-24 months imprisonment.

This suite of tools and guidance covers topics including facilitation payments, bribery red flags, and training materials to help identify and manage bribery risks. It includes a flow chart of practical steps businesses can take before entering any formal relationship with business partners or associates and what due diligence can be conducted. This resource forms part of Austrade’s suite of anti-bribery materials.

Protect your organisation by putting in place clear policies and procedures that prohibit the offer, giving or receipt of gifts, hospitality or expenses where they could influence, or be reasonably perceived to influence, improper outcomes of business transactions. This resource also offers guidance on policy considerations and procedures such as record keeping. It forms part of Austrade’s suite of anti-bribery materials.

Foreign bribery results in an inefficient allocation of resources and economic distortions. It is also a threat to democracy, corrosive of good governance and an impediment to economic development. This fact sheet provides information about the consequences for individuals and companies who bribe or attempt to bribe and the broader, far-reaching effects of foreign bribery on democratic institutions and governmental stability.

Businesses that engage in commercial activity with overseas entities involved in serious corruption or other situations of international concern should be aware of obligations arising under Australia’s sanctions laws. Sanctions impose restrictions on activities that relate to particular countries, goods, services, or entities. The Australian Sanctions Office provides information about compliance with Australia’s sanctions laws and how to apply for sanctions permits.

Exporters need to be aware of the risks of bribery and corruption in international transactions and requirements to comply with laws in multiple jurisdictions. Bribery committed outside Australia can be captured under Australian laws and have serious consequences. Export Finance Australia provides useful links to assist exporters in understanding their obligations to comply with relevant laws against bribery and corruption. 

The Austrade 'Monitoring and Review' fact sheet helps businesses to understand what internal and external mechanisms can be used to assess the effectiveness of their bribery prevention policies and procedures. Ensure your organisation has adequate measures in place to meet stakeholder expectations and comply with regulatory frameworks. Know what records should be kept and when policies and procedures may need to be adjusted.

Understand what constitutes a facilitation payment with this guide. This resource provides a list of examples, explains associated risks, and sets out the Australian law and Austrade policy in relation to facilitation payments. It also includes a brief hypothetical scenario and offers guidance on how to resist making facilitation payments. This resource forms part of Austrade’s suite of anti-bribery materials.

Understand regulatory expectations, seek to comply with legal obligations and manage whistleblowing in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001 using this guide on whistleblowing policies. The guide offers background context to whistleblowing policies. It also provides detailed steps, examples and good practice tips on how to establish, implement and maintain a whistleblower policy.

Suspected bribery of foreign public officials can be reported to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). This fact sheet tells you how. Companies that discover foreign bribery and do not report to the AFP may face increased liability for maintaining a corporate culture that tolerates bribery. Companies that report their own conduct can receive discounted penalties (and may not be prosecuted at all).

Remuneration and promotion structures are one of the most powerful ways that companies communicate their values and priorities to staff. Section nine of the Austrade publication "Anti-bribery and Corruption (ABC): A guide for Australians doing business overseas" gives a simple overview of how compliance, risk management and ethical behavior can be reinforced through incentive structures (and how the wrong behaviors can also be reinforced). This resource is part of Austrade’s “Guide to exporting”.

This resource offers a high-level overview on how your organisation’s anti-bribery and corruption procedures might be designed to mitigate identified risks as well as prevent deliberate unethical conduct by associated persons. It explains features of a proportionate approach to developing anti-bribery procedures and clearly sets out characteristics of such an approach. This resource is part of Austrade’s suite of anti-bribery materials.

Australia’s powerful confiscation laws ensure there can be no profit in bribery. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, law enforcement agencies are equipped with a range of powers to trace, restrain and confiscate proceeds of crime against Commonwealth laws such as foreign bribery. Any asset can potentially be subject to confiscation if it is the ‘proceeds' or an 'instrument' of a Commonwealth offence.

Liability for bribery and corruption can arise under multiple jurisdictions both inside and outside Australia. In Australia, individuals and corporations can be liable for a range of state and territory offences including offences that apply to conduct in the private sector. For example, section 249B of the NSW Crimes Act contains offences for corrupt commissions or rewards.