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Monday, July 14, 2008

Time on again for whistleblower protection

Mark Dreyfus QC, Member for Isaacs

The Cabinet Secretary, Senator John Faulkner announced that the Government has asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to consider and report by 28 February 2009, on a preferred model for legislation to protect public interest disclosures (whistleblowing) within the Australian Government public sector. The media release and terms of reference indicate a broad ranging inquiry.The Committee is chaired by one of the star recruits for Labor at the last election, Mark Dreyfus QC. It's probably inevitable that some sort of inquiry has proved necessary as Labor's election commitment was in broad and general terms.

It's not that the ground isn't already well tilled- Senator Andrew Murray introduced bills that went nowhere although one was the subject of this report in 2002 by the Senate Public Finance and Administration Committee

The 175 page draft report, "Whistling while they work project" the result of three years of work by Dr A J Brown of Griffith University and colleagues, supported by a substantial grant by the Australian Research Council, has been sitting on the table since late last year.

The Committee is to look at whistleblowing in the Australian Government public sector so all this won't move us far in the direction of what all the experts say we need- a coherent, national approach to whistleblower protection laws.


  1. Anonymous1:36 am

    Interesting post. I was just reading an article in The Washington Post about a lawsuit which is questioning the constitutionality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires publicly traded organizations to establish a process to manage whistleblower complaints. According to the Post, it seems likely that the Public company Accounting Oversight Board, who created the act, will lose their case. This could have an interesting affect on federal whistleblowing regulations and technologies, so it should be an interesting story to keep your eye on.

  2. Thanks- I hadn't heard about the US development. I have high hopes of Dreyfus QC, but private sector whistleblower protection struggles to get on the agenda here. Peter Timmins