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By Will Elton, Last updated: 2023-01-18 (originally published on 2019-09-09)
As of 1 July 2019, Australia’s new whistleblower laws apply. Following more than 12 months in Parliament, the new Federal whistleblower protection regime was enacted covering the corporate, financial and tax sectors. The new laws aim to expose corporate (and in some cases, personal) misbehaviour.
The Whistleblower Laws introduced:
The category has now expanded to include employees, officers and suppliers of companies as well as their family members.
Disclosures made anonymously are still protected by the laws.
Protected disclosures include where a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that:
It’s important to note that disclosures about personal work-related matters are not generally protected by the laws. This includes:
Protected disclosures can be made to:
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.
The laws require all public companies to introduce a Whistleblower Policy.
This also applies to companies with:
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