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On Whistleblowing

By johnboy - 26 February 2009 5

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has released a new report: Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector.

As it’s a reps committee one can assume it was sent off to find out things the Government actually wants to know about and do something about (as opposed to senate committees where the reverse is largely true). I’m sure it will be of great interest to all our readers within the public circus.

For those looking for a shorter read there’s an accompanying media release:

    “The current legal framework and organisational culture discourages public servants from speaking out against what they consider to be illegal or improper conduct in the workplace. People who raise allegations of misconduct could be exposed to serious criminal or civil liability. The Committee considers that a comprehensive public interest disclosure system is needed. The system should include Commonwealth public sector employees, contractors and consultants and provide statutory protection against detrimental action, and immunities from civil and criminal liability. Public interest disclosure legislation should play a central role in identifying and addressing wrongdoing in the public sector”

The CPSU has expressed pleasure.

Do we need a special scheme for what should be a basic part of performing one’s duties?

What’s Your opinion?

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On Whistleblowing
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pelican 7:38 pm 26 Feb 09

I have not read the report, only some excerpts in the paper. There is one recommendation already of concern: that potential whistleblowers report first to a Senior Officer within the department.

If the department’s primary intention is to whitewash or cover up any hint of maladministration, fraud or corruption – the whistleblower has already set themselves up for potential repercussions, either overt or subte.

I was surprised at this outcome, but maybe there is better news in the report.

poptop 2:43 pm 26 Feb 09

Nobody promotes a whistleblower.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:54 pm 26 Feb 09

The serious liability arises under s70 of the Crimes Act. See the case of Allan Kessing.

Jim Jones 11:00 am 26 Feb 09

For anyone seriously interested in the subject, Australian New Zealand School of Government has a free ebook online at:

caf 10:56 am 26 Feb 09

Sure, if it’ll let people perform those duties without copping a defo writ or worse.

Does anyone know what the “serious criminal or civil liability” referred to are?

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