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Whistleblower Protection Ten Years On: Consistencies, Inconsistencies & Regulatory Dilemmas

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Whistleblower Protection Ten Years On: Consistencies, Inconsistencies & Regulatory Dilemmas. Presenter John McMillan Commonwealth Ombudsman. The title of the law. Whistleblower Protection Act Protected Disclosures Act Public Interest Disclosures Act

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whistleblower protection ten years on consistencies inconsistencies regulatory dilemmas

Whistleblower Protection Ten Years On: Consistencies, Inconsistencies & Regulatory Dilemmas

Presenter

John McMillan

Commonwealth Ombudsman

the title of the law
The title of the law
  • Whistleblower Protection Act
  • Protected Disclosures Act
  • Public Interest Disclosures Act
  • Other terminology – eg, internal witness management; principled organisational dissent
who is protected
Who is protected
  • Public sector employees
  • Private sector employees
  • Contractors
  • Any person
what disclosures are protected about
What disclosures are protected: about …
  • Illegality or contravention of the law by a public official
  • Fraudulent or corrupt conduct
  • A disciplinary offence/breach of a code of conduct
  • Danger to public health, safety or the environment
  • Financial mismanagement and public wastage
  • Improper conduct
  • Scope of “public official”
what kind of protection
What kind of protection
  • Obligation on relevant agency to investigate disclosure
  • Obligation on agency to protect discloser, eg, confidentiality, relocation, progress report
  • Protection of person against disciplinary and criminal action by reason of disclosure
  • Offence to take detrimental/reprisal action
  • Civil damages to redress reprisal
  • Injunction to restrain reprisal
the criteria for protection
The criteria for protection
  • “Reasonable belief” that it is a public interest disclosure
  • Disclosure that tends to show the alleged conduct
  • Disclosure must be to a designated authority
  • Made in good faith/not knowingly false/not vexatious or frivolous
  • Public disclosure to media
  • Reverse onus of proof applying to agency
  • Anonymous disclosures
other issues
Other issues
  • Annual reporting on operation of the scheme
  • Obligation on agencies to establish internal reporting system
  • Coordination/supervision of the scheme
  • Periodic review of the scheme
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