Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Whistleblower Senate Inquiry report due 30th June 2017. Still time to lobby the Senators and MPs

The Australian Senate are holding an inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors. The inquiry is due to publish a report on the 30th June 2017. I know a lot of the regular readers of this website have been whistleblowers in the past, some are still driving issues and others will become whistleblowers in the future.

Unfortunately public submissions closed on the 10/2/17 but there is still plenty of time to write to the federal Senators and MPs.

The inquiry is very important for Australia so we are able to meet corruption head on in the future. But if the inquiry fails to deliver don’t become disillusioned because whistleblowers can’t be stopped and are becoming more empowered by the day as they join together and find support on social media.

As mainstream media continues to decline whistleblowing websites and other social media sites will continue to grow as people want to know the truth.

Whistleblowers don’t go away anymore

International whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden

There was a time when swift legal action would close down many whistleblowers but not anymore. The likes of Simon Mulvany and Amber Harrison continue to power along and then there are people like Jeff Morris who exposed widespread corruption at the Commonwealth Bank. Mr Morris is in the media at least every couple of months and a lot more when the various bank inquiries have been in progress.

Jeff Morris who blew the whistle on fraud and theft by Commonwealth Bank staff

People like Mr Morris would have to be a huge fear for corporations and his whistleblowing will be felt for years to come and I suspect until there is at least a Royal Commission into the banking industry. Mr Morris has set up his own website:

The Commonwealth Bank did pay for legal action by one of their staff, Brendan French, against Michael Fraser but that hasn’t stopped him either as his Twitter account shows.

The list of people who are on Twitter and Facebook etc exposing corruption is a mile long and almost every day in the mainstream media they are referencing social media whistleblowers. Two examples are: Firstly, Jeff Morris in a story in the SMH on Saturday (1/4/17) regarding the Senate whistleblowing inquiry:

“The culture of “don’t dob in a mate” strikes at the heart of our poor treatment of whistleblowers. From an early age we are told to keep quiet and avoid the stigma of being a snitch or a troublemaker.”

“But the fundamental question that needs to be asked in the joint parliamentary inquiry into whistleblowers is: why should whistleblowers be protected?” (Click here to read more)

And secondly, the Daily Mail published a story using Amber Harrison Tweets on the 30/3/17. Ms Harrison is currently being silenced by a wide-ranging suppression order taken out by the Kerry Stokes controlled Seven West Media. Seven leaked a document to the Australian Financial Review in an attempt to discredit Amber Harrison who ran a story on the 27/3/17. Ms Harrison responded:

The suppression order has only highlighted the methods used by corrupt business people and companies to hide their criminal activities. (Click here to read more)

Government needs to change the laws – Maybe set up a Whistleblower protection department?

The federal government needs to improve the laws protecting whistleblowers but that is pointless unless the courts enforce the laws. Another option would be to set up a small government department that specializes in protecting whistleblowers. Even if it only had 2 or 3 staff it would be a good start.

There is a non-profit organisation in Australia called Whistleblowers Australia and it says on its website:

The goal of Whistleblowers Australia (WBA) is to help promote a society in which it is possible to speak out without reprisal about corruption, dangers to the public and other vital social issues, and to help those who speak out in this way to help themselves.

WBA uses two main approaches to achieve this goal. The first is to encourage self-help and mutual help among whistleblowers and the second is to support campaigns on specific issues.

WBA supports initiatives and ongoing efforts to create a climate where people can speak out without reprisal. Campaigns have included:

Free speech for employees. Repressive legislation and bureaucracies inhibit many workers from making disclosures. This legislation needs to be repealed. The right of private sector employees to speak out on issues of social importance also needs to be promoted.

Reform of defamation law. Australia’s defamation laws are mainly helpful to the rich and powerful and frequently operate to prevent exposure of corrupt behaviour. The laws need to be reformed to allow public interest disclosures and to eliminate high legal costs and payouts.

Whistleblower legislation. Whistleblowers can be protected by laws against reprisals. One problem with Australian whistleblower laws is that employers are almost never prosecuted for taking reprisals against whistleblowers. (Click here to read more)

Closing down whistleblowers with legal action

Almost all recent legal attempts to close down whistleblowers have backfired as they only raised the public awareness of the abuse of the law by corporations and the government.

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have helped put whistleblowing on the international stage which in the long-term will help benefit everyone. Even with all the legal power that has been thrown at both of them they continue to thrive and expose corruption. In the chase for Assange the governments of England, Sweden and the US would have spent 10’s of millions of dollars on lawyers yet have failed badly. Many people believe that Assange even managed to have an influence on the outcome on the US Presidential election with the leaks on the WikiLeaks website so they have hardly silenced him.

You don’t have to be international whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden to make the world a better place. Just doing your bit where you live or supporting whistleblowers helps a great deal. You still have a few months to send a quick email to your federal Senator or MP to lobby for better protection of Australian whistleblowers.

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14 replies »

  1. Another great article for a cause that needs to unite the people to fight for Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness. I personally will write a letter which will outline my concerns and grievances.

    Every government agency is protected and solicitors and barristers are protected by the (OLSC) which is a government business centre that falls under the jurisdiction of the NSW Department of Justice.

    There is a great deal of talk about the seperation of duties, however we all know that falls well short of the truth. These parasites continue to steal from the tax payer, mainly through expense abuse, refuse to step down and for some unknown reason, cannot be terminated and in most instances don’t repay there thefts.

  2. I took an issue to the top of the tree once, and by the time the ink had dried I was being hounded. From that point on I kept my silence and worried about my own pension. I have retired now and enjoy my freedom. The only safe way is through the media Radio. No one can identify the person on the line, and if need be public phones make it dam difficult to trace you. I will never trust the “Whistleblowers establishment” again ever no matter what they do to say it is safe.

  3. The more people who interact with our politicians and their Committees the better. One day they will not be able to ignore the flood.
    Here is another Commission its worth while looking at and if anyone has a submission sent to other committees it is easy to cut and paste one and send it to this lot. We hope that one day one politician will have the guts to stand up and expose the corruption.

    It is still not to late to prepare a submission to the Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission, Parliament of Australia – due Friday 7 April 2017 –

  4. “Government needs to change the laws – Maybe set up a Whistleblower protection department?”

    ROFL. Why would they want to do that? They would help expose the corruption that is rife throughout the entire government. If they ever do, it will be just for public display purposes.

    • … just like all the whistleblower laws they have now… they don’t really protect whistleblowers do they?

  5. Being chief of paediatric heart surgery at Prince Henry, Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospitals for 25 years, NSW Health asked me to evaluate and report in confidence on the practices and standards of anaesthetic staff alongside whom I worked for 25 years.

    I reported gross incompetence, systematic cover-ups and obsolete management to Dickinson, Board Chairman of those three Hospitals.

    Two days later, my report was indiscriminately distributed to all Anaesthetic staff whose conduct was examined. I was immediately suspended when that group took umbrage and threatened a total blackballing of my practice and of the hospitals’ surgery generally, unless I were suspended for an open enquiry.
    The hospital administration, and those anaesthetists whose records were suspect, collaborated totally from then onward. The enquiry had high publicity, I had no peer critics, my enemies refused scrutiny of their credentials and there were no legal rules of any sort at any level.

    The outcome was obvious when the anaesthetists threatened a complete freeze of all anaesthetic services unless I was dismissed permanently. The hospital administration accepted that the situation was unplayable unless I was sacrificed as the only satisfactory outcome for the “common good”.
    Despite approval of my surgical record by an undisputedly top expert and by a Supreme Court. I was offered a last-minute, undefined post carrying no duties.

    While the threatened administration pondered its options, I resigned from any further connection with the hospitals. Immediately, many vital records were lost, mislaid or destroyed. Some remained so for many years. My career had been totally destroyed immediately I was confronted by a massive cabal made up of implacably corrupt clinicians and an equally corrupt administration.

    Later events have confirmed that rapid capitulation to tortuous threats by pressure groups offers no solution to the confused secrecy of fearful administrations.

    • I know that feeling of despair and anger when those you trusted turned out to be the very turncoats you tried to avoid. I refused to resign, I remained a thorn in the side of a very corrupt management system.

    • Sorry to hear that our hospital system is rife with corruption, particularly with lives and health on the line. One would have thought there would be systems in place to negate this. Truly horrifying!

  6. In clarification of ‘the government’ as an entity, it has tremendous power, although not used often in total due to an underlying current of apathy.
    This apathy is used by ‘government’ servants and representatives, the elected politicians, to make decisions which continuously affect the ‘government’ in a negative manner.
    The ‘government’ in a true democracy of a country is the citizens of that country, and in Australia, those who are elected to represent the ‘citizens’ of Australia are failing to perform in the manner for which they are paid by the citizens in taken taxes, and for instance, the servants taking it upon themselves to create a law to pay themselves high salaries and obscenely high retirement pensions.
    The time has come for all voting Australian citizens to begin blowing whistles, loud and clear.
    Visiting the site below tells where politicians belong in the scheme of ‘governing’.

  7. Currently the “Rule of Law” of meaningless in our Judical system. I have recently read several articles where even legal representatives are going to the media stating that their client cannot get a fair go..

    Maybe it should change to the “Rule of the Richest”? That said, when watching “planet earth”, it the “Rule of the Strongest”..

    Preditors always attack the weak and vulnerable prey in the first instance.
    Thats the PRECEDENT, otherwise they attack the adult to survive. We can adopt the same principle, by all attacking one legal matter at a time in order to start establishing CASELAW precedents.

    We have learnt that our senior Politicians and Governments officials will protect themselves by pushing their subordinates “under the bus”. Thats the beauty of the “blame game”. In litigation there is generally a scapegoat when corruption and negligence is systemic.

    However, what I have learnt and the KCA website confirms this, that if you can manage to be resiliant, that TIME becomes your friend. The longer the matter drags, the more lies, the deeper the hole becomes.

    When you have the above concoction, then the only way to a fair judicial hearing is, “Trial by Jury”…

  8. Blowing the whistle and expecting a fair hearing is akin to attempting to push a raindrop up a window with a toothpick. As long as corrupt officials, judges and government departments exist, nothing will happen.
    The honest people who try to expose corruption ie; (Gillard and Co.and hospital workers union funds)will be vilified, and made to look the guilty ones.
    As soon as Gillard became prime minister files and documents mysteriously disappeared. I guarantee the same will happen if (God forbid) Shorten ever wins government.

  9. If you are a whistle-blower expect to never work in that field again, that is the sad but true advice I have heard again & again. I know sympathetic people who have counseled whistle-blowers and the first thing asked is what next? As for legislating protections, good am happy but still doesn’t get away from the fact the Australia is very small and your tenure if you spill the beans will be limited from there on even with protections. Best we can hope for is their entitlements are preserved out of this.

    More an issue which I think you are touching on here is how Government won’t prosecute breaches of laws by corporations and how the Judicial officers are so far out of the realms of affordability for the average punter that they continue to be bullied by Lawfare…

    I know of an issue at the moment the DOJ Vic won’t touch, ASIC is avoiding & the ACCC won’t go near of a medium sized company that uses it’s power to rip off battlers as to dismiss complaints about the absence of it’s services that it still charges for as required under the act that is so difficult to change providers it knows it. Those affected have primary evidence of breaches of the Trades Practices Act and multiple breaches of the act it’s enterprise is involved in, however authorities say it is a civil matter. The throw away line is use VCAT but they don’t have an answer when asked what happens when this mob appeals to the Supreme Court and those affected can’t afford the silks to defend which is why they were at VCAT to begin with!

    Long and short. The whole system is stuffed, white collar crime is ignored but woe betide anyone who exceeds a speed limit by 2 km/h or doesn’t pay a cent of tax…

  10. I am a whistleblower at a NFP, who had virtually no evidence when I came forward. Facing the realisation that a very senior staff member may be corrupt, weighing up the consequences of action and inaction was incredibly stressful and a protracted form of torture. I came forward, and it was taken very, very seriously. Whilst they may not have had enough evidence to dismiss that person, measures are now being put in place to put a complete stop to this and they have virtually been stripped of all power. Every bit of the psychological distress I went through is worth it, if the result is stamping on such unethical behaviour towards our supporters and the people i serve.

    This also says a lot about the integrity of the board. It’s all about how those in the most powerful positions deal with it I think.

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