Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying and calling out misconduct and harm to consumers and the community. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) identifies the obligations of companies under the Corporations Act if they receive a report from a whistleblower and the requirement to have a whistleblowing policy. Whistleblowing processes – or systems for encouraging and protecting staff who speak up about wrongdoing – are vital to achieving integrity, good governance and freedom from corruption in institutions across the world, read more in the report Clean as a whistle: a five step guide to better whistleblowing policy and practice in business and government (2019). Also view the video on the new International Standard on Whistleblowing Management Systems – Guidelines ISO 37002 here.
Consumers’ Federation of Australia supports a representative to the Standards Australia Technical Committee QR-017 Organisational Governance which contributed to the work of ISO TC 309 and the development of the international standard. Consumers’ Federation of Australia Standards Project ensures the consumer voice is heard in the development of standards, which gives us confidence and trust in the products, services, and systems we use in our daily lives.
Whistling while they work is a Griffith University research project looking at improving managerial responses to whistleblowing in public and private sector organisations. A good practice guide is available for free here. Even if your company is not required to have a whistleblower policy under the law, ASIC encourages you to put in place arrangements for handling whistleblower disclosures.
The whistleblower protections include criminal offences and civil penalties for a person causing or threatening to cause detriment to a whistleblower or breaching a whistleblower’s confidentiality, including during an investigation into the whistleblower’s concerns, see more on the ASIC whistleblower protections. Find out about your protections at work on the Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman website.
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