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Whistleblower Guide

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Individuals observing corrupt behaviour in either government or the corporate sector often face a difficult, dangerous and lonely road.

Although confusing, Australian legislation offers some protection for ethical disclosures through the Public Interest Disclosure Act and the Corporations Act.

To help navigate this complex area of law, we’ve created this map for some guidance on the twisting road to gain protection. You do not need to provide any personal information to step through the guide.

What sector do you work in?
Private sector
Public sector
Intelligence services

Public sector officials who suspect wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector are offered protections under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act).

This act protects officials who disclose information from reprisal, exposure of their identity, and civil, criminal and administrative liability.

Who is offered protection under the act?

What type of information is considered disclosable under the act?

What type of information is not considerd disclosable by the act?

How Do I Report Wrongdoing?

If you are eligible for protection, and have information related to suspected wrongdoing, then the first step is to make an ‘Internal Disclosure’ to an ‘authorised officer’ within the organisation you are employed within, or to the Commonwealth Ombudsman or Inspector General of Intelligence Services.

What information do I need to provide?

Can I remain anonymous during this process?

Who I make my report to?

Can I Report Wrongdoing To A Journalist?

In general, the PID Act does not offer protection to those who make disclosures outside of authorised channels.

However, there are some circumstances where you have the right to make an ‘external disclosure’ – for example, to a journalist or union represenative.

If you do not meet the threshold to make an external disclosure, but believe the information you wish to disclose concerns substantial and immient danger to the health or safety of one or more people or the environment, you may also make an ’emergency disclosure’ to anyone.

When can I make an external disclosure?

When can I make an emergency disclosure?

Can I Speak To A Lawyer?

You may give information to a lawyer for the purposes of seeking legal advice or professional assistance about making a PID, provided you do not disclose intelligence-related matters or sensitive law enforcement information.

If you are discussing national security matter, or other protected information, be aware that the lawyer should have necessary security clearance.

As a public interest law firm, Xenophon Davis is committed to….

People who suspect wrongdoing within the private sector are offered protections under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act).

This act protects those who disclose information from reprisal, exposure of their identity, and civil, criminal and administrative liability.

Who is offered protection under the act?

What type of information is considered disclosable under the act?

What type of information is not considerd disclosable by the act?

How Do I Report Wrongdoing?

If you are eligible for protection, and have information related to suspected wrongdoing, then the first step is to make an ‘Internal Disclosure’ to an ‘authorised officer’ within the organisation you are employed within, or to the Commonwealth Ombudsman or Inspector General of Intelligence Services.

What information do I need to provide?

Can I remain anonymous during this process?

Who I make my report to?

Can I Report Wrongdoing To A Journalist?

In general, the PID Act does not offer protection to those who make disclosures outside of authorised channels.

However, there are some circumstances where you have the right to make an ‘external disclosure’ – for example, to a journalist or union represenative.

If you do not meet the threshold to make an external disclosure, but believe the information you wish to disclose concerns substantial and immient danger to the health or safety of one or more people or the environment, you may also make an ’emergency disclosure’ to anyone.

When can I make an external disclosure?

When can I make an emergency disclosure?

Can I Speak To A Lawyer?

You may give information to a lawyer for the purposes of seeking legal advice or professional assistance about making a PID, provided you do not disclose intelligence-related matters or sensitive law enforcement information.

If you are discussing national security matter, or other protected information, be aware that the lawyer should have necessary security clearance.

As a public interest law firm, Xenophon Davis is committed to….

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