Currently Australian companies are permitted to pay bribes. They can pay foreign officials under the defence of it being a ‘facilitation payment’, even if such a payment is illegal in the country it is being made in.
These ‘facilitation payments’ are not seen as real bribes but there to assist a forveign official to complete a task they would do anyway, such as issuing a permit or licence. But the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says “a facilitation payment is simply another term for a bribe.”
Transparency International says facilitation payments help nurture and sustain corrupt bureaucracies, political parties and governments. 
Allowing facilitation payments also undermines businesses trying to carry out their operations ethically and can undermine efforts by governments to stamp out corruption in their public service.
The Certified Practicing Accountants Australia have publicly urged the Australian Government to ban facilitation payments.
The Federal Government says it plans to bring Australian law in line with UK law and ban Australian companies from paying any form of bribe to foreign officials. A number of Australian mining companies operating in Africa have opposed the Government’s plans, saying that ‘facilitation payments’ are necessary for them to do business in developing countries.