In Whose Interest? The Need for Consistency in to Whom, and about Whom, Australian Public Interest Whistleblowers can make Protected Disclosures

Paul Latimer, A J Brown


Since the 1990s Australia’s nine jurisdictions have passed (or, in the case of the Northern Territory, proposed to pass) public sector whistleblower legislation. The legislation, which reflects different political origins and legislative aims, is not consistent in many respects and there are few common tests across the jurisdictions. This article analyses two issues - who the Australian whistleblower
can disclose to, and who the whistleblower can make protected disclosures about. The examination of these issues indicates inconsistencies in the public law whistleblower laws enacted since the 1990s. This inconsistency is not sensible in Australia’s national economy, where an employee in one State can make a protected disclosure, but an employee in another cannot make the same disclosure. This article supports the election commitment of the Rudd federal government in 2007 to introduce best practice federal whistleblowing legislation which will hopefully overcome shortcomings analysed in this article.

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