This report recommends that the Australian government introduce new dedicated legislation to facilitate the making of public interest disclosures and strengthen legal protection for whistleblowers in the Commonwealth public sector. The Commonwealth is the only Australian jurisdiction that does not have legislation to encourage public interest disclosures. While some limited protections are available to whistleblowers employed by Australian Public Service agencies, evidence to the inquiry indicates that those protections are inadequate.
Other key areas of recommendations in the report include:
• That the new legislation be called Public Interest Disclosure Act, with the primary purpose of promoting accountability and integrity in public administration
• That the system comprise a two stage process of internal and external reporting with the Commonwealth Ombudsman to oversee of the administration of the Act
• That agencies have obligations to act of the disclosures they receive
• That in certain circumstances, disclosures made to third parties such as the media, legal advisors, professional associations and Members of Parliament, should be protected.