TI Australia has a keen interest and plays an international leadership roleÂ in this important area.
The results of the first independent assessment of whistleblowing laws across the G20 countries was released in the lead-up to the Australian-hosted G20 Leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November 2014 – showing the importance of continued G20 action in support of whistleblower protection, especially in the private sector.Â The assessment, ‘Whistleblower Protection Laws in G20 Countries: Priorities for Action’, was jointly conducted by Blueprint for Free Speech, Griffith University, University of Melbourne and TI Australia. It was another major outcome of the joint Transparency International and Griffith University conference on Corruption, Integrity Systems and the G20 held in June 2014.
TIA welcomed the passage on 26 June 2013Â of Australia’s long awaited federal public sector whistleblower protection legislation, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.Â This legislation followed the inquiry by the 2009 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal andÂ Constitutional Affairs,Â chaired by Mark Dreyfus QC.Â As Attorney-General, Mr Dreyfus was instrumental in seeing the Bill finally introduced, amended and passed in the last sitting days of the 2010-2013 parliament.
TI Australia has played a continuous role in advocating for this legislation, and securing improvements to it.Â TIAÂ was a partner to the research project ‘Whistling While They Work’ on which much of this reform was based, along with reform to state legislation in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.Â This project was led by Professor A J Brown of Griffith University, a TI Australia director and a leading world authority on whistleblowing.
TI Australia welcomed the legislation.
Professor Brown’s statement welcoming the legislation can be found here.
A recent article by Professor Brown on the new legislation can be found here.
The worldwide TI movement believes that the individual right to freedom of expression includes the right to point out acts of wrongdoing â€“ both in government and in private companies. Transparency International is engaged in a wide range of advocacy, public awareness and research activities in all regions of the world. In 2009 Transparency International developed recommended draft International Principles for Whistleblower Legislation which many countries and international organisations have used to develop their own legislation and standards.
The next whistleblowing law reform priorities for TI Australia are:
- closing the loopholes in the new federal legislation
- ongoing improvement to much state legislation
- comprehensive whistleblower protection legislation for the private and civil society sectors, in place of the currently inadequate Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act; and
- exploration of qui tam,Â bounty-based or False Claims-style legislation to encourage and compensate whistleblowers.
The Griffith University Centre for Governance and Public Policy website gives up-to-date information about the whistleblowing area.
Published October 2013