Protected disclosures include where a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that:
- there has been misconduct or an “improper state of affairs or circumstances” regarding any of the entities covered by the laws or their related bodies corporate;
- conduct that breaches the Corporations Act 2001 or conduct that breaches the ASIC Act or a range of specified insurance, life insurance and superannuation statutes;
- conduct that relates to an offence against any law of the Commonwealth which is punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more; or
- presents a danger to the public or the financial system.
It’s important to note that disclosures about personal work-related matters are not generally protected by the laws. This includes:
- employment matters that impact upon the employee personally;
- interpersonal conflict with another employee;
- decisions regarding promotions, demotions, terms and conditions of employment; and
- in regards to disciplinary action against the discloser.
Who can protected disclosures be made to?
Protected disclosures can be made to:
- officers of a company;
- senior managers;
- auditors of a company;
- actuaries of a company; and
- trustee’s of a superannuation entity.
In certain circumstances, if a discloser has taken the prescribed steps yet has reasonable grounds to believe action is not being taken corresponding to the issue, there is also protection towards disclosing to a journalist or member of Parliament.
If the confidentiality of a whistleblower’s identity is breached, fines of up to $1.05m apply to individuals and up to $10.5m apply to companies involved in the breach.
If a whistleblower is threatened or victimised, fines of up to $1.05m apply to individuals and up to $10.5m apply to companies involved in the.