●Australian companies will be held responsible for bribery committed by employees and contractors under new laws introduced on Wednesday aimed at combating corporate crime that costs the country billions of dollars a year.
●Modelled on regimes already in place in Britain and the United States that have helped transform business culture, the legislation will also provide incentives for firms to come forward and work with government agencies.
●"Corporate crime is estimated to cost Australia more than A$8.5 billion (US$6.5 billion) each year," Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in introducing the changes.
●"It hurts our businesses, hinders economic growth and jeopardises Australia's international reputation." Keenan said the reforms make investigating and prosecuting offenders simpler while strengthening offences for companies operating offshore.
●A new crime of failing to prevent foreign bribery will be created and amendments made to broaden existing foreign bribery laws.