The Olympic Games have highlighted that there's a long way
to go before anyone can be confident that winners have won without
According to the International Olympic Committee's website,
'The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to
building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through
sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the
Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit
of friendship, solidarity and fair play.'
'Fair play' means athletes competing against each other
based on natural ability, discipline and hard work. This holds true
for business. Companies should be competing for business based on
the quality of their services or products and competitive
The introduction to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Resource
(FCPA) Guide states, 'The Act was intended to halt those
corrupt practices, create a level playing field for honest
businesses, and restore public confidence in the integrity of the
marketplace.' This statement could easily be adapted to
the sporting environment.
For both elite sport and global business the aim is to win. But,
in both, unethical conduct can gain an advantage: elite sport
through doping; and the business world through corruption.
We all want to win. But we should want to win ethically. In
business, this means acting responsibly and taking account of the
effect we have on local communities: not doing anything that will
adversely impact them and, where possible, improving standards of
living. Corruption has no upside for communities.
Last week's 7.30 report and Fairfax Media articles
into the alleged corrupt activities of Australian companies,
Sundance Resources and Snowy Mountain Engineering, again highlight
that there's also a long way to go before anyone can be
confident that Australian companies winning contracts overseas are
doing so fairly.
Like cheating in sport, corruption in business creates cynicism
about how results are achieved and erodes confidence in business
integrity. At an international level, Australia's business
reputation is becoming increasingly tarnished. Over the last twelve
months, we have had a Senate inquiry into foreign bribery and
public consultation on whether to introduce a deferred prosecutions
regime. Consultation has its place, but it's now time for
decisive action and leadership to stop the rot.
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Two criminal offences relating to "false dealing with accounting documents" have been introduced into the Criminal Code.
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