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Whistleblower protection still lacking in Australia, culture of retaliation persists

Whistleblower laws in Australia are falling short and not protecting those who report crimes and misconduct, according to a recent article concerning a panel of disgraced whistleblowers and journalists. And the culture surrounding them has followed suit, says investigative journalist Adele Ferguson.

 

“Whistleblowers here tend to be treated like pariahs,” she said. 

 

Ferguson, speaking at a Melbourne Press Club Forum, compared the treatment of whistleblowers in Australia to those in the United States. She explained that Australia punishes whistleblowers, while the U.S. holds an annual National Whistleblower Appreciation Day to celebrate whistleblowers.

 

The current laws in Australia only cover those reporting crimes in the private sector, leaving a large chunk of whistleblowers without any protection at all. 

 

The forum featured two whistleblowers who suffered retaliation after exposing crimes at their jobs. Both suffered retaliation and were forced out of work and faced intense personal stress.

 

Ferguson believes the key to changing the negative perception of whistleblowers in Australia is to implement whistleblower rewards laws. “If we respect them and reward them, corporations will change as well,” Ferguson said. 

 

Read: Reward whistleblowers to expose corruption

 

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The Whistleblower Blog is an editorially independent news and information source, sponsored by a pro bono public service project by Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP. The blog highlights important news, legal developments and policy issues critical to whistleblowers and their advocates, both in the United States and internationally. The contributors to this blog are respected leaders in their fields, including the authors of key whistleblower law books, current and former legal professors, spokespersons before Congressional committees and other public bodies, directors of non-profit whistleblower advocacy groups, and prominent attorneys specializing in representing/assisting whistleblowers in the United States and throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.