“Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption“
Patricia Moreira, Managing Director, Transparency International (2019).
Disappointingly, Australia is one of the 16 countries that have significantly decreased their scores. Based on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 survey findings, the country used to rank among the top ten least-corrupt countries – now it is in the 13th place . We fell out of the league of world-leading nations back in 2014 and continuously fail to lift our game, dropping to a score of 77 on the Corruption Perceptions Index – unchanged from 2017 and down 8 points since 2012.
What this means is that Australia’s continuing failure to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy. This disturbing link between corruption and the health of Australian democracy, helps to highlight the very issues in local government.
Hence, it is no surprise our local government systems are rigged with unethical fraud and corruption issues in LG election, many not investigated and addresses; inefficient councils, politicized councils and ratepayers and residents stripped of their democratic rights to be effectively informed, consulted and participative in their council decision making activities.
Local Government Victoria’s reforms to integrate deliberate democracy in council decision making, through council community engagement practices is heading in the right directions in mitigating fraud and corruption risks in council decision making.