Recent events such as the raids on the ABC and other journalists have brought into focus the risks faced by whistleblowers who leak evidence of corruption or other serious crimes.
It is therefore somewhat timely that the federal parliament recently passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2019, which substantially bolsters whistleblower protections within the private sphere.
Who do the new laws apply to?
The Bill amends the Corporations Act and other legislation (new laws) by imposing strict whistleblowing protection obligations on the following regulated entities:
- companies or constitutional corporations
- certain financial institutions
- insurers (including life insurance companies)
- superannuation entities and trustees
- any associated entities of the above
The new laws do not apply to government departments, nor do they increase the whistleblower protections for commonwealth employees.
In essence, the new laws:
- allow the making of protected disclosures about a wider range of misconduct such as corporate corruption, fraud, bribery and money laundering, as well as other serious criminal offences that pose a danger to the public or financial system