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 Dayto 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.