Monday, July 04, 2011
Federal whistleblower protection pushed to year end
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie didn't worry about the lack of whistleblower protection when he resigned in a blaze of publicity from the Office of National Assessments over concerns that intelligence was being misrepresented in the Howard government's case for Australian involvement in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But the agreement for his support that enabled the formation of the Gillard government in 2010 included a commitment to the passage of whistleblower protection legislation by 30 June this year. That deadline came and went last week with no sign of a bill being introduced let alone passed. Media interest in the deadline prompted Special Minister of State Gary Gray to issue a media release stating the aim now is the end of 2011, as the legislation is being finalised "with the agreement of the independent members of parliament." No one outside government appears to be part of the process. Professor AJ Brown of Griffith University, the acknowledged expert, writing in The Australian 10 days ago didn't know the score. ABC PM last week provided a good summary of the continuing unhappy state of things.