The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2018 amends the Corporations Act 2001 to consolidate and broaden the existing protection regime for disclosures of information by individuals. It was passed into law in Australia in February 2019 and will come into effect on 1 July 2019.
The Bill introduces reforms in Australia’s corporate whistleblowing regime by providing enhanced protections to whistle-blowers and increasing the penalties for companies that breach those protections.
The Bill excludes most disclosures of person work-related grievances from protection. A disclosure of misconduct that is a personal work-related grievance of the whistleblower is only protected if the disclosure concerns alleged vicitimisation.
We recommend that you have a Whistleblower policy and that you educate and train staff around what it is and how to use it. In addition, your staff who are responsible for administering the policy need to be trained around what constitutes a whistleblower, and what their obligations are if they receive a whistleblowing complaint.
ASIC outlines the criteria to determine whether you are a whistleblower.
EWC will work with you to determine whether the complaint attracts the protections of a ‘whistle-blower’. If you would like us to notify your employer about your complaint we will need your consent to disclose your complaint before contacting the employer.
You can lodge an anonymous complaint. However, we must obtain consent from you before disclosing information to the employer. This could be information surrounding the complaint, the Department or section you work in, and names of the people involved. Complainants (the person making the complaint) need to understand that even if you lodge an anonymous complaint, the circumstances may be such that you can be identified, and anonymity may be difficult to maintain.
Where we are unable to assist a complainant, you can contact the Fairwork Ombudsman or the Fairwork Commission to determine whether you are eligible to lodge an application. You may also be eligible to lodge a complaint at ASIC, AHRC, or your State Anti-Discrimination body (see useful links below). Alternatively, you can contact a private lawyer, industrial advocate, your professional body, your Union or your local State’s Health and Safety body.