Strong whistleblower protections a step closer to becoming reality

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Australian Institute of Company Directors today welcomed the passage through the Senate of safe harbour reforms which will help save jobs and value, while supporting a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors today welcomed the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services’ report into whistleblower protections.

The AICD strongly supports the introduction of more robust whistleblower protections, as the current legislative regime fails to encourage a culture of disclosure or adequately protect whistleblowers.

In its submission to the parliamentary committee, the AICD argued for extending protections to a greater range of people, broadening the definition of ‘disclosable conduct’, protecting anonymous whistleblowers and increasing penalties for corporations that victimise or harm whistleblowers.

AICD Acting Chairman Gene Tilbrook said that a strong whistleblowing framework should strengthen and support the governance of Australia’s organisations.

“The AICD is broadly supportive of the committee’s recommendations and commends the substantial consultation and consideration which the committee members have put in to this process,” he said.

“Stronger protections for whistleblowers will incentivise all companies to establish robust internal whistleblowing systems which will increase transparency and facilitate disclosure.

“Company directors want to know if corporate wrongdoing is occurring, and many companies already have in place robust internal whistleblowing processes that encourage reporting. However, the legislative framework needs to ensure whistleblowers are protected and supported as well.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in identifying misconduct and should not be the subject of victimisation as a result of their disclosure.

“Strong protections for whistleblowers help to ensure that corporate wrongdoing is detected and addressed or, ideally, prevented.

“We need a robust whistleblowing regime that will help improve governance practices, encourage effective internal reporting frameworks, and make sure that someone who blows the whistle gets the protection and support they deserve.

“We look forward to engaging with the government to see a better whistleblower protection framework become law. We also encourage organisations of all sizes to look at their own internal whistleblower frameworks to see how they can improve them sooner rather than later.”


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