Australia needs to strengthen the legislative protections for whistleblowers in order to address the many inconsistencies and weaknesses evident in current whistleblower regimes. Pursuing a longer-term goal of adopting one simple, uniform whistleblower regime across the Federation.
However, legal reform is only one piece of the puzzle. Legislative change must be supported by better whistleblower programs within our Australian organisations, and widespread cultural change around the stigma that is often associated with whistleblowing.
We need to help Australian organisations to help themselves, and in doing so, we must promote a culture that supports speaking up and does not tolerate retaliation or reprisals against whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers should be encouraged to report matters internally in the first instance, if they feel comfortable doing so. External reporting channels should be made available for use in circumstances where internal channels have failed, or the whistleblower fears retribution.
These are some insights and recommendation drawn from KPMG’s experience operating a confidential whistleblower hotline (KPMG FairCall). Since its establishment in 1998, the KPMG FairCall service has handled over a thousand confidential whistleblower matters pertaining to fraud or other types of misconduct spanning a broad range of private and public sector organisations.
KPMG shared these insights by making a submission to the inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
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