Her case is symptomatic of Labor's treatment of whistleblowers, whether it be the nurses who exposed problems at Camden and Campbelltown hospitals or the brave Bimla Chand, who exposed systematic bullying at RailCorp. Labor's treatment of people who stood up for the public good, who stood up for their beliefs, was nothing short of shameful and every single member of the Labor Party in this place ought to hang their heads in shame.
Ms Chand was employed by the agency between 2000 and 2005. Around 2001 she made internal complaints relating to the conduct of other employees that she considered involved corrupt practices. Later she took leave on medical advice. The agency terminated her employment in 2005 on medical grounds.
3 Ms Chand has brought various proceedings against the agency. She contested her termination in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. In this Tribunal’s Equal Opportunity Division she sued the agency over alleged sexual harassment by fellow employees during her employment and over alleged victimisation for making those complaints. As to these matters, see Chand v State Rail Authority of NSW  AIRC 911 (21 November 2007), and Chand v Rail Corporation of NSW (No 2)  NSWADTAP 27 (30 April 2009). There is also a reference in the agency’s material to proceedings before the Transport Appeals Board.
- expands the type of disclosures that can be made to the Chief Executive, Local Government, in the Department of Premier and Cabinet regarding wrongdoing by local councils. Currently the Act only permits public interest disclosures to be made directly to the chief executive in relation to serious and substantial waste of local government money. As the Division of Local Government can investigate a range of other conduct by local councils, the Government considers that public officials should be able to disclose a wider range of wrongdoing directly to the head of that division and receive the protections under the Act. To implement this, the bill will also allow the chief executive to receive disclosures about corrupt conduct, maladministration, breaches of pecuniary interest obligations under the Local Government Act and a failure to exercise functions properly in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 by councils.
- imposes express statutory obligations on the heads of public authorities. These include responsibility for ensuring that the public authority has a public interest disclosure policy, that staff are aware of the policy and the protections of the Act, and that the public authority complies with the policy and its obligations under the Act. Placing these obligations in legislation will assist in emphasising the importance of top-down support for public officials who make public interest disclosures. It is also proposed to empower the Ombudsman to assist in resolving certain disputes that might arise as a result of a public official making a public interest disclosure. New regulation-making powers have been included in the bill for this purpose.
- will also improve the feedback from agencies to whistleblowers about their concerns. Public authorities will be required to send a copy of the agency's policy to a person who has made a public interest disclosure and to acknowledge receipt of a disclosure within 45 days. This requirement will need to be included in the public authority's public interest disclosures policy.
(Update: Parliament passed the bills in September 2011.)