The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has recently released its report on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Whistleblowers) Bill 2017. As previously reported to members (Acting for You, February and April 2018), Governance Institute lodged a submission to the Committee.
In our submission we commended the government for the improvements to whistleblower protections included in the bill. However, we noted that a number of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee’s Inquiry into Whistleblower protections were not addressed in the bill. These included: the recommendation for one scheme covering the private sector and a lead agency such as an Ombudsman or Office of the Whistleblower to undertake the whistleblower protection role and implement the new scheme. We also reiterated our support for a stand-alone, general whistleblower protection regime in its own Act (applicable to the private sector) rather than an approach which inserts the same provisions in multiple pieces of legislation. We expressed our continuing concerns about some aspects of the bill such as: the broadening of the number of persons to whom a protected disclosure may be made, the fact that matters relating solely to personal employment-related grievances are better dealt with through existing processes and not caught up in the whistleblower process and our lack of support for whistleblower protection for those who intentionally make disclosures to the media or to parliament.