Without severe penalties, political corruption in Australia will continue to flourish, writes Alan Austin.
FRANCE’S highly-decorated former President Nicolas Sarkozy starts his gaol sentence on corruption charges any day now. Sarkozy was a senior Minister under Presidents François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac before becoming President himself in 2007.
He was convicted in March this year of illicit campaign funding and sentenced to three years in prison with two suspended. He will serve the year in home detention.
France is one of many countries that has found custodial sentences essential in curbing political corruption.
ICAC shaming is not enough
Corruption in Australia is far rifer than in France and the wealth grifted is much greater. Australia urgently needs a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), replicating the ICAC in New South Wales, Victoria’s IBAC and similar bodies in other states.
The lesson from abroad is that while a Federal ICAC is essential, it will be of little use unless the courts impose stiff penalties.