Opposition demands changes to bribery laws
Commpanies could buy their way out of corporate crime penalties under a federal government proposal, Labor fears.
The opposition wants to alter draft legislation which allows companies guilty of corporate crime, including foreign bribery, to make a deal with the government to put their case on hold.
In order to do so the companies pay a fine and follow a set of conditions.
Government members of the Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee say the bill should be passed, but Labor senators don't agree.
"The proposed scheme contains insufficient safeguards to prevent companies from effectively buying their way out of meaningful punishment for corporate crime," Labor's dissenting report says.
"When ordinary Australians commit crimes, they feel the full force of the law. But too often when it is companies committing the crimes, nothing happens."
The government says companies could still face charges under the scheme if necessary.
The Greens want the bill put on ice until the Australian Law Reform Commission tables its report on corporate criminal responsibility.
The Greens and Labor are both concerned about another part of the bill, which effectively broadens the definition of dishonesty under criminal law.
The parties say this would widen the net of other charges.