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Whistleblowers Australia

Reform Agenda

The overall goal of Whistleblowers Australia Inc. is to help promote a society in which it is possible to speak out without reprisal about corruption, dangers to the public and environment and other vital social issues, and to help those who speak out in this way to help themselves.

WBA supports initiatives and ongoing efforts to create a culture in which people can speak out without reprisal. The following are some long-running campaigns:

  • Free speech for employees and others. Repressive legislation and bureaucracies inhibit many workers from making disclosures. Comprehensive legislative reform is needed to enshrine the right of private- and public-sector employees and others to speak out on matters of social importance in the wider public interest.
  • Immunity from prosecution for journalists. Current legislation places a journalist at risk of prosecution for contempt for refusing to reveal a whistleblower's identity in court proceedings. Comprehensive legislative reform is needed to enshrine the right of a journalist to put the public's right to know ahead of any government or other interest without fear of prosecution in the absence of any national security risk.
  • Challenging defamation restraints. Australia's defamation laws are mainly helpful to the rich and powerful and frequently operate to prevent the exposure of harmful, possibly corrupt behaviour by way of confidential settlements that deny the public its right to know. Legislation needs to be reformed to limit satisfaction to a full public correction of the alleged defamatory statements prominently displayed in the news media, together with a full disclosure of the grounds of settlement. Defamation suits should not be permitted to remain a litigation opportunity.
  • Whistleblowing legislation. Whistleblowers can be protected by laws against reprisals. In 2010 there are whistleblowing acts in every state and territory, with no conformity between them. All have severe flaws and have been criticised by whistleblower-supporting organisations. One problem is that they don't actually provide protection against attacks in the first place.

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Copyright Whistleblowers Australia 2007-2010. (Last update: 19 November 2010.)