Providing national and international leadership in integrity systems

Good governance relies on institutions fulfilling their mission with integrity, supported by well-designed accountability regimes. As part of this corruption resilience, detection and enforcement are critical priorities for all organisations - government, business or civil society - in an increasingly competitive world.

This program provides national and international leadership in the evaluation, design and implementation of modern integrity systems related to:

  • Public sector ethics as an element of public sector management.
  • Whistleblowing and internal integrity policies.
  • Powers and performance of anti-corruption agencies.
  • Improving international accountability for grand corruption crimes.
  • Strengthening the anti-corruption work of the G20.
  • Complex ways in which integrity policies and institutions interrelate.

Our researchers work with other Griffith University centres, public regulators, industry bodies and NGOs, including Transparency International, to safeguard the public's interest in having institutions it can trust.

Program Leader: Professor A.J. Brown


Australia's National Integrity System: A Blueprint for Action was launched at this online event from Parliament House, Canberra on Monday 30th November 2020, 12.00 - 1.00pm. Griffith University and Transparency International Australia have been lead partners in this Australian Research Council-funded assessment. It outlines 10 actions in five focus areas for Australia’s governments and the wider community.

National Integrity System: A Blueprint for Action Report - full report available here.

Watch the presentation here


Prepared for the Public Sector Innovation Network's 2020 Innovation Monthevent in July, 'Delivering Differently', this new podcast explores the rapid adaptation of Australia’s federal system to deliver differently in the wake of COVID-19.

Professor A.J. Brown (School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University), Jennifer Menzies (Policy Innovation Hub, Griffith University) and Dr Jacob Deem (School of Business and Law, Central Queensland University) discuss how Australia’s federal system managed and adapted in the early stage of the COVID crisis, what worked well, and whether elements should remain as part of our federal structure when the crisis diminishes.

Listen to the podcast here


The COVID-19 crisis demonstrates a growing demand for strong public accountability and the importance of whistleblower protection, according to the Centre’s public integrity expert Professor AJ Brown.  He has contributed to a global statement written in response to dramatic mistakes by officials and authorities in their knee jerk reactions to the pandemic.  Coalition to Make Whistleblowing Safe During COVID-19 and Beyondis supported by more than 50 organisations and experts worldwide.

The current situation reminds us that public sector whistleblower legislation are lagging behind in Australia, with law reform already overdue in the federal parliament, and many State parliaments as this crisis continues.

Read more here


Professor AJ Brown recently spoke with ABC's Waleed Ally and Scott Stephens on the Minefield Podcast Serieson Why does Democracy Demand transparency?This is such a timely discussion with the focus on the way that federal grants for local sports clubs were allocated and distributed in the lead up to the 2019 federal election has come under intense public scrutiny. The conduct of the Minister who oversaw the grants scheme, Bridget McKenzie, was severely criticised by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).  The way that the Federal Government dismissed the report of the auditor-general — relying instead on an assessment conducted by Mr Morrison’s former chief of staff, Phil Gaetjens, and legal advice from the federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter, neither of whichhas been made public — is alarming. This response to the findings of an independent public servant seems to be of a piece with the Prime Minister’s habit of brushing off scrutiny by relegating it to the self-interested world of the "Canberra bubble".

Listen to the podcast here


Professor AJ Brown has recently announced the first Asia-Pacific Integrity School which will run from 19-26 March 2020 at Griffith University’s South Bank campus in Brisbane, opening with a special symposium on the future of anti-corruption in the Asia-Pacific region.

Two world-leading figures in anti-corruption will join Griffith University as speakers and instructors in the inaugural Asia-Pacific Integrity School.  We welcome Dr Delia Rubio, Chair of Transparency International and His Excellency J C Weliamuna PC.   The Basel Institute is sponsoring the appointment of His Excellency J C Weliamuna PC as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Griffith University's Public Integrity & Anti-Corruption Research program in 2020. Mr Weliamuna, a leading human rights and constitutional lawyer, joins a set of top international anti-corruption experts as an instructor at the Integrity School. Read more about the appointment here.

The Integrity School is a 5-7-day intensive program operating thanks to a partnership between Transparency International Australia and Griffith University’s Graduate Certificate in Integrity & Anti-Corruption program. The new program will equip professionals and young people with advanced policy and analytical skills to undertake effective integrity and anti-corruption measures. For more details and to register interest in the program follow the link below.

Find out more


On Saturday, 26 October, Professor A.J. Brown delivered the 2019 Henry Parkes Oration in Tenterfield, NSW. On the 130th anniversary of Parkes' Tenterfield Address, Professor AJ Brown presents a seven point plan for restoring public confidence in Commonwealth whistleblower protection.

Delivering his address on 'Safeguarding our Democracy'. "With recent events revealing confused and inconsistent policy and lawmaking in this area, we must act to strengthen Australia’s national systems of public integrity and accountability. This is not simply for the sake of press freedom, nor even for the sake of justice for everyday workers and officials. It is vital to safeguarding the future of Australian democracy." AJ's speech is available here.

Audio available here


On 10 July, our partner school, School fo Government and International Relations co-hosted with the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, and DamnFineMedia, a panel event on 'The Future of Corruption: The Fitzgerald Report 30 Years on'. Using Fitzgerald era Queensland as the launch point for discussion, the event sought to explore where we go to now in our pursuit of stamping out corrupt practices, particularly in public life. The expert panel, featuring the Centre’s public integrity and anti-corruption program leader Professor AJ Brown, Monash University’s Margaret Simons, the Grattan Institute’s Kate Griffiths, LNP member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien and author, Nigel Powell, took the time to mull over the steps taken so far to develop integrity and accountability frameworks as well consider what must be done to implement and progress these now and into the future. The panel was moderated by ABC RN Big Idea’s presenter, Paul Barclay, and was recorded for use in the program.

Listen to Big Ideas here


Professor A.J. Brown says the case for law reform to properly protect public-interest whistleblowers has never been so stark. In a new article for The Conversation he details the need for better whistleblower protections and writes that, “fundamental flaws in our (federal) laws are embarrassing everyone from the AFP to the government itself, triggering criminal investigations and charges against whistleblowers, irrespective of the public interest.” “These flaws mean fraud, corruption or criminal behaviour in any activity vaguely touched by intelligence agency functions cannot be revealed to the public, even when the same disclosure about any other agency would be protected.”

New research released by Professor Brown reinforced just how important whistleblower protection is to public integrity and regulatory systems, without which most whistleblowers won’t go public.

Read article here


Professor AJ Brown recently gave a keynote address to the 7th Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Symposium, co-hosted this year by the World Justice Project and focussing on Fighting Corruption: A New Perspective.

Professor Brown, in his role as Board member for Transparency International spoke on 'Corruption in 2030: What will it look like and how will we have beaten it?'.  

Please see Professor Brown's powerpoint presentation here.

Watch the presentation here


The draft report of Australia's second National Integrity System Assessment, 'Governing For Integrity: A Blueprint for Reform' has been released by Griffith University and Transparency International Australia for public comment and submissions.

Containing 25 draft recommendations for overhauling Australia's systems of public integrity and accountability -- including a national integrity commission, new investments in whistleblower protection, and new measures to control political donations, lobbying and 'undue influence' -- this report is the major output of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Strengthening Australia's National Integrity System: Priorities for Reform.

Comments and submissions are welcome on the draft recommendations by 10 May 2019.  Email us at

Download a 7-page Overview of the draft report here.

Read the summary report of the draft recommendations here.

Access the full text draft chapters supporting the recommendations here: [PDFs]

3. Australia's anti-corruption priorities in context

4. Our main official corruption challenges

5. Preventing corruption

6. Political integrity

7. Whistleblowing, civil society and the media [to follow]

8. Enforcing integrity violations [to follow]

9. Integrity agency accountability [to follow]

10. Creating a 'system': coherence, coordination and resources [to follow]

Appendix 1: National Integrity Commission options compared

Appendix 2: Research summary and acknowledgements

Video Commentary

Issues relating to public integrity and anti-corruption

4th Parliament -- Integrity and Accountability

Professor A.J. Brown has some advice for Australia's 46th Parliament on what needs to be done in the integrity and accountability space.

Kol Preap

Kol Preap from Transparency International, Cambodia speaks on Fighting Corruption in a Highly Corrupt World: Successes, Resistances and Challenges

Recorded by The DigiLab, Griffith University, 5 April 2019 as part of the seminar and workshop on 'Integrity and Corruption in 2030: What does the future hold?'

2018 Distinguished Lecture

Professor AJ Brown drew on his extensive research and practical expertise to present: A National Integrity Commission - Options for Australia.  The School of Government and International Relations 2018 Distinguished Lecture presented a new picture of the options for the Commonwealth Government to undertake long overdue strengthening of its public integrity system – drawing on initial results from Australia’s second National Integrity System Assessment.


Program leader Professor A J Brown has released this major new paper from the 2nd National Integrity System Assessment of Australia, at a special packed-out symposium in Canberra (21 August) and the School of Government and International Relations 2018 Distinguished Lecture (23 August) in Brisbane.

See the full report here.   A summary report is also available here.


Australians’ trust in government has continued to slide, driven by growing concerns about corruption at the federal level, according to a special Global Corruption Barometer survey conducted by Griffith University and Transparency International Australia.

The results also show strong support for creation of a new federal anti-corruption body, with two-thirds (67%) supporting the idea, especially in Victoria, NSW and South Australia – with those ‘strongly supporting’ the idea outstripping those who strongly oppose it by 4 to 1.

Combined with Griffith University’s Australian Constitutional Values Survey, the in-person telephone poll of 2,218 adults, conducted in May-June, provides the first measure since 2012 of the growing impact of corruption on citizens’ trust and confidence in government.

See here for the joint Griffith University and Transparency International Australia media release, and data release from 20 August 2018.


National Integrity 2017: Building the Public/Private Alliance was the first biennial conference hosted by Transparency International Australia and Griffith University, held in March 2017. It explored how best to strengthen Australia’s systems of integrity, accountability and anti-corruption—including the hot issues of stronger whistleblower protection, real-time disclosure of political donations, whether we need a federal anti-corruption agency, and the latest on business integrity.

The conference was a major scoping event for 'Strengthening Australia's National Integrity System: Priorities for Reform', an Australian Research Council Linkage Project led by program leader Professor A J Brown, which will run from 2017-2019. Supported by Transparency International Australia, NSW Ombudsman, Queensland Integrity Commissioner, and the Crime & Corruption Commission Queensland, this project is conducting Australia's second national integrity system assessment, and will identify the major opportunities for strengthening the country's systems of integrity and anti-corruption.


The Centre is also leading the ground-breaking project Whistling While They Work 2: Improving managerial responses to whistleblowing in public and private organisations.  This Australian Research Council supported project involves five universities and 23 partner and supporter organisations from across Australia and New Zealand.  Go to the project website here for full details and the latest data releases.

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