State Emergency Services (SES) whistleblower Tara McCarthy has already achieved a lot and it looks as though she will achieve a great deal more. Because of Ms McCarthy it appears that the NSW whistleblower protection laws are about to be tested to the limit. Former NSW State Emergency Services Commissioner Murray Kear is likely to be charged with criminal offences for sacking her for being a whistleblower.
There are also lessons to be learnt from Ms McCarthy’s story that will come in handy for current and future whistleblowers which includes myself and this website. At the very least her story will give other whistleblowers hope and motivation. I know many of the readers of this site are whistleblowers and would know this is long overdue but very good news.
The SMH reported: “In the first case of its kind in NSW, the former head of the State Emergency Service is facing prosecution for sacking a whistleblower.”
“The Independent Commission Against Corruption found last year that former SES Commissioner Murray Kear had acted corruptly by sacking his deputy, Tara McCarthy, after she exposed potential misconduct in the ranks.”
“The Director of Public Prosecutions has now advised the commission that there is “sufficient evidence” to charge Mr Kear with an offence under the state’s whistleblower protection laws.”
“The Public Interest Disclosures Act makes it an offence for a public official to take “detrimental action against a person … substantially in reprisal” for whistleblowing.”
“The offence carries a maximum two-year prison sentence. Mr Kear would be the first person prosecuted under the laws.” (Click here to read more)
Murray Kear is long gone from the SES as he resigned in July 2014 which was 2 weeks after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) made findings that he was corrupt. (Click here to read more)
Tara McCarthy was reinstated last year but only on a 6 month contract at this stage. “A whistleblower who was improperly sacked from the State Emergency Service for exposing potential misconduct in the ranks will return to the “job of her dreams” on Monday – more than a year after she was ousted.” (Click here to read more)
In the past there have been a lot of ways that whistleblowers were dealt with. Everything from being sacked which is quite common, offered bribes to shut their mouths and being bastardized are standard methods that are used in attempts to silence whistleblowers.
But with the truth train of the internet it is becoming harder and harder for corrupt managers and politicians etc to make whistleblowers go away. Slowly but surely judgement day is coming to those who deserve to be held to account.
In NSW it is the Ombudsman who has oversight of making sure whistleblowers are protected and the Public Interest Disclosures Act is enforced. (Click here to read more) I know I will be giving them a call in the not too distant future.
It will only take one person like former SES Commissioner Murray Kear to get some jail time and it will stop a lot of corruption and encourage other whistleblowers to come forward. If Mr Kear is charged, just the fact that he is potentially facing jail time will be enough rattle a lot of people. Whether or not he goes to jail becomes a minor issue.
Some people look at Craig Thomson who had his criminal conviction overturned in December last year and Peter Slipper who had his conviction overturned a couple of days ago and say the justice system does not work. Maybe it doesn’t at the moment but that will change with time if the pressure is kept up.
But just remember it is no picnic to be hauled into court, run up huge legal bills, be publicly humiliated and have their careers destroyed. The likes of Thomson and Slipper haven’t gotten away with anything and neither has former SES Commissioner Murray Kear. Kear has already lost his job and if he is charged the punishment listed above of legal bills and public humiliation etc will just be starting.
I wasn’t previously aware of the Public Interest Disclosures Act that protects whistleblowers but now I am it will be getting a big workout so make sure you at least have a quick look at it.
Admin: I filed my amended defence on Friday in the matter against Kerry Stokes. Stokes would have to be feeling like Craig Thomson now. The defamation case has forced me to dig deeper. I now have 4 Federal Court Judges instead of 1 who say that Mr Stokes gave “knowingly false”evidence and evidence he “knew was untrue” when he was in the witness stand under oath. More on that in the future (Click here to read the defence)
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Categories: Independent Commission Against Corruption - ICAC