TIME TO BLOW THE WHISTLE

23 February 2017
  • Parliamentary inquiry on sweeping whistleblower reforms starts today
  • The inquiry is part of an agreement between the Nick Xenophon Team and the Federal Government to overhaul whistleblower protection laws in the public and private sectors

As part of an agreement secured between the Nick Xenophon Team and the Federal Government, a Parliamentary Joint Committee is meeting in Brisbane today to inquire into sweeping whistleblower reforms. 

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services is holding its first public hearing for the inquiry into Whistleblower Protections in the Corporate, Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors.

The inquiry was backed by the Government following its agreement with Senator Xenophon in November to include landmark changes to protect whistleblowers in the Government's Registered Organisations legislation. 

The changes incorporated in that legislation - that apply to unions and employer organisations - give for the first time in Australia the right to compensation for whistleblowers that suffer detriment, as well as an expansion of who and what disclosures are protected.

In order to secure the support of Senator Xenophon and his colleagues, the Government has committed to extending and implementing these reforms to the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors by mid-2018. 

"The Government to its credit has agreed to the biggest reforms to whistleblower protection this country has ever seen, and once extended to the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors next year, Australia will be a world leader in protecting whistleblowers with all the benefits that brings to the community," said Nick. 

A 2014 review of whistleblower protection laws in G20 countries, stated: 

Whistleblowing is now considered to be among the most effective, if not the most effective means to expose and remedy corruption, fraud and other types of wrongdoing in the public and private sectors.

"The whistleblower protection reforms the Government has now committed to will over the years save taxpayers billions by reducing public sector waste, expose and prevent corporate malfeasance, and lead to a greater culture of openness and accountability in our public and private sectors," said Nick.

This morning the Committee will hear evidence at 10.45am from Professor of Public Law & Policy, Dr A J Brown, and Project Leader of 'Whistling While They Work 2' - the largest whistleblowing research project in Australia.

The full program can be found here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Corporations_and_Financial_Services/WhistleblowerProtections/Public_Hearings

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