Current issues and trends in regulation of corporate crimes in Australia
In Australia, corporate crime is covered by the category of the white collar crimes and can be broadly defined as crime committed within the course of one’s occupation by individuals of relatively high social status. However, in contrast to those white collar offenses which are committed against companies, such as embezzlement or misuse of personal computers, corporate crimes include offences perpetrated by companies or their agents against members of the public, creditors, investors or corporate competitors.
In most cases, corporate crimes have deliberate nature, such as fraudulent billing of the government for examinations that have never been performed, or winding back the odometer in order to deceive prospective customers. In addition to this, a great variety of corporate crimes is connected with recklessness, negligence, or inattention to detail.
In elaborating further, corporate crimes in Australia may be classified in accordance with specificity of a field in which the crimes are committed. Thus, legal experts and criminal lawyers usually categorise corporate crimes as security crimes, tax crimes, crimes in the field of safety and occupational health, environmental crimes, consumer crimes, food standards, restrictive trade practices, economic offences against employees, discriminatory practices, etc.
In view of the aforesaid diversity of corporate crimes, it is essential to highlight the key trends and issues in corporate crime control under Australian law. In this connection, regulatory activity of Australian law enforcement authorities constitutes the first and foremost type of corporate crime control. The fact is that the current regulatory effort of Australian law enforcement bodies is expected to make workplaces, environment and market safer. However, it is also possible to perceive much criticism in respect of Australian regulatory agencies as allegedly inefficient bodies of corporate crime control. This is partially explained by the lack of political leadership in this field.