As a result of the Senate’s referral of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017 (‘the Bill’) to the Economics Legislation Committee (‘the Committee’) for review, a report has been produced by the Committee.
This report discusses the Bill’s provisions in detail, as well as the broad range of submissions received in relation to the Bill.
The Committee notes that most submissions acknowledged that the Bill is an improvement on current arrangements, is a good step towards further reform and should be passed.
It further notes that the government is still working on its response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee’s whistleblower report and may introduce further reforms.
The Bill is proposed to take effect on 1 July 2018 with whistleblower policies to be in place by 1 January 2019.
- Recommendation 1 – that an explicit requirement for review be included in the Bill on the basis that there are concerns about the broad range of possible whistleblower complaint recipients.
- Some recipients (ie. immediate supervisors) may not be capable of handling complaints, and companies should be required to develop formal methods of reviewing these complaints, such as designating senior managers to whom disclosures should be referred.
- Recommendation 2 – that the definition of journalist (contained in s1317AAD(2) be reviewed because the definition of journalist is not intended to exclude the public broadcasters and is unclear.
- Recommendation 3 – that the Bill be passed.
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