Research reports

Perceptions of corruption - Survey of the Victorian community

The Victorian community expects the public sector to operate fairly and honestly, free from misconduct and corruption. The community also expects public sector employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism when using public funds and resources to deliver goods and services to Victorians.

This report provides the responses of the Victorian community about their understanding of corruption, their perceptions of corruption and misconduct, attitudes to reporting corruption and misconduct, and attitudes towards preventing corruption.

Two-thirds of the Victorian community respondents agreed they knew what behaviour constitutes corruption (65 per cent). Almost two-thirds of community respondents also agreed that corruption happens in Victoria (62 per cent), which was comparable to the other groups surveyed (state and local government employees and Victoria Police).

Behaviours associated with obtaining personal financial rewards and bribery were consistently identified as corruption by the majority of community respondents. However, compared with other respondent groups, community respondents were less confident identifying what corruption is. While less than half of the community respondents (44 per cent) identified a government employee using a work credit card to pay for a personal taxi fare of $50 as corrupt conduct, the majority of Victoria Police, state government and local government respondents were clear that this definitely involved corrupt conduct.

The majority of community respondents said they would report corruption if they personally observed it (75 per cent), however only a quarter of respondents said they knew how to report corruption (23 per cent) or where to report it (24 per cent).

Community respondents stated that concern for fairness and democracy (78 per cent) and the best interests of the community (77 per cent) would prompt them to report corruption. And they were most likely to report serious corruption to IBAC (39 per cent), the Victorian Ombudsman (21 per cent) and Victoria Police (15 per cent).