Australia Anti-Corruption Reforms Gain Traction

Australia’s federal government has been busy in the anti-corruption arena in recent years. The newly minted National Anti-Corruption Commission launched in July 2023 and saw more than 500 reports in its first month. Australia’s Parliament is considering a new foreign bribery law that includes a “corporate failure to prevent” offense and a stricter definition of corrupt payments.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Foreign Bribery) Bill 2023 introduced into Parliament in June 2023, is the third attempt since 2017 to reform Australia’s foreign bribery laws. The Bill is still being debated in Parliament, and it is possible that an amended version will be introduced over the coming months. The Bill proposes two key changes: the introduction of a failure to prevent offense, largely modelled on the U.K. offense, and various amendments to expand the scope of the existing offense of bribing a foreign public official.

The Anti-Corruption Report consulted with Hogan Lovells partners Nick Williams and Mandi Jacobson, as well as Clayton Utz partner Tobin Meagher and special counsel Ananya Roy, to understand how these reforms may impact companies inside and outside of Australia.

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