We’ve been calling for stronger protection for whistleblowers for years.
Before the federal election, we took our top prioritiesfor anti-corruption reform to the major parties. This was based on detailed researchand consultations with integrity experts and everyday Australians alike.
- a strong whistleblower protection authority for public and private sector workers,
- unified and stand-alone legislation for the private sector,
- a well-designed compensation scheme, and
- upgraded legal protections for all workers in all sectors.
The Australia Federal Police raids on journalists this month risk having a chilling effect on public servants who want to blow the whistle on wrong-doing, TIA board member and anti-corruption expert, Professor A J Brown told theCanberra Times.
‘What these cases are really flushing out is that the protections that we assume are in place, both for whistleblowers and for journalists (…) it’s not actually true in practice. There’s so many cavears, so many loopholes, so many qualifications that it’s very hard for anybody to be protected.’ AJ told ABC’s Media Watch.
A J told The Saturday Paperthe Commonwealth law protecting federal public servants who blow the whistle needs serious reform, and Australians need a dedicated organisation to enforce the law and protect whistleblowers.
As he said to Media Watch, ‘we need a comprehensive overhaul of the law both on the media freedom side and the journalism shield law side and on the whislteblower protection side to actually make sure that all these principles are actually enshrined and done so in a consistent way that actually makes sense.’
‘A healthy democracy depends on the ability to hold decision-makers to account, and for that we need transparency’ TIA CEO Serena Lillywhite told the Guardian.
If you would like to know more about how you can safely blow the whistle, here are some useful resources:
- The Guardian’s guide to assist whistleblowers who wish to report to them: hereand here.
- The Commonwealth Ombudsman factsheeton the Public Interest Disclosure Act
- Whistleblowers Australiais an organisation established by whistleblowers to provide support for whisleblowers and to foster a better culture in which people can speak out without reprisal.