Whistleblower protections must be strengthened

CLARE O’NEIL MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HOTHAM

SENATOR DEBORAH O’NEILL, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH, LABOR SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

SENATOR CHRIS KETTER, SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

MATT KEOGH MP, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BURT

GED KEARNEY MP, MEMBER FOR BATMAN

Labor is pleased to see the Enhancing Whistleblower Protections Bill pass the Senate after almost a year of pressure from Labor, Centre Alliance and from experts like AJ Brown.
 
In September 2017, over one year ago, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services released its unanimous report into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors. This report provided a roadmap for reform to better protect whistleblowers. 
 
The Liberal Government has only addressed a fraction of the Committee’s recommendations in this bill – and hasn’t even bothered to respond to the PJC Report.  This bill is not a response to the PJC Report, a point which has been acknowledged by Treasury officials.
 
It is disappointing – but not surprising – that the Morrison Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to strengthen this bill. 
 
Time and time again, we have seen the Liberals running a protection racket for big business. They resisted the Royal Commission for 600 days – voting against it 26 times – and just last week the Liberals voted against tougher penalties for corporate misconduct. 
 
The Liberals are divided, out of touch, and only for the top end of town. Their protection racket for big business must stop. 
 
Labor members of the PJC wrote to the Assistant Treasurer in September this year, urging him to respond to the PJC Report as soon as practically possible. The Assistant Treasurer has not even responded to this letter.
 
Labor will continue to fight for better protections for whistleblowers.