We live in a world awash with public scandals increasingly related to corruption. On a daily basis we confront the spectacle of one institution after another being tested and found wanting. The churches are mired in sex abuse crimes, sporting teams and Olympians are beset by drug scandals. Politicians and land developers provide a steady diet of headlines concerning graft and undue influence. It's obvious the problem has become serious when one of the worst cases involves a country's central bank in a multi-million dollar case in which corrupt payments were considered 'a cost of doing business'.
The most obvious impact of corruption is a decline in citizen trust in government. In 2014, only 40 per cent of people in OECD countries were found to trust their government. Further, people in many countries report feeling that democracy is not working for them because money now determines access to ministers and the ability to get elected.
The primary sites for public corruption include lobbying practices, election finance, failure to protect whistleblowers and failure to ensure accountable government. Another very challenging aspect of modern governance is the widespread use of contractors to deliver public services. When these procurement arrangements fail to prevent fraud or excessive profit-taking, the effect upon public confidence in government can be dramatic. Under these conditions citizens report feeling that 'government is for sale'.
With these thoughts in mind, this conference aims to explore and explain the apparent rise in corruption in recent decades, and to outline current thinking on the best ways to combat it. Specialists from industry, NGOs, government anti-corruption agencies and academia will address the topic from numerous perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region.
A world map of the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International which measures "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians". High numbers (blue) indicate less perception of corruption, whereas lower numbers (red) indicate higher perception of corruption.