Anthony Albanese

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s fake National Anti-Corruption Commission fails whistleblowers

PM Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party have backflipped on their election promise for a powerful National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). One of the ways they have done that is by making sure as few whistleblowers come forward as possible which is designed to cover up Labor Party corruption in future years.

That will mean the new Federal NACC will start running low on the amount of corruption they have to investigate once they have dealt with corruption in the past by the coalition government of the last nine years. And possibly going back to the John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard years as well. But even investigations into past corruption will be limited without better protection for whistleblowers.

The key points of the fake National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) are:

  1. Bare minimum protection for whistleblowers.
  2. They have backflipped on their election promise for public hearings which will now only happen in exceptional circumstances.
  3. Massive Breach of Open justice – This is also in part designed to intimidate whistleblowers from not coming forward.

The Anthony Albanese government hates whistleblowers just as much as the Scott Morrison government did and the proof is that they are still prosecuting Australian Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle and war crimes whistleblower David McBride. And I have no doubt part of the reason the Albanese government is still prosecuting them is to send a message to other possible whistleblowers to stay silent or they will face the same treatment.

Bare minimum protection for whistleblowers

What fuels all anti-corruption bodies investigating corruption is having as many whistleblowers come forward as possible and Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party know that. So, they have made sure as few as possible will come forward in the future who could blow the whistle on corruption in their government.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus told the media this blatant lie:

The legislation would provide “strong protections for whistleblowers”  which is based on “The National Anti-Corruption Commission bill will have its own whistleblower protections, as is appropriate for Australian public servants and people working in the public sector who come forward with allegations that the commission should look at,”

And some journalists and commentators repeated the lie as a fact such as Barrister Geoffrey Watson in the SMH who said: “The legislation provides for comprehensive whistleblower protection”. (Click here to read more)

But others exposed the truth such as Transparency International Australia which reported (28/9/22):

The government gave an election pledge that its package would be “extremely similar” to the integrity commission models previously introduced by the Greens, McGowan and her successor, Dr Helen Haines.

However the bill differs substantially from Haines’ model by not including a whistleblowing commissioner, identified by past parliamentary inquiries as also central to a strengthened integrity system.

Despite recently telling parliament the government was taking the idea of a whistleblower protection authority “very seriously indeed”, it got no mention in the Attorney-General’s speech introducing the new commission.

The government has committed to fix overdue, minor problems with federal public sector whistleblowing laws. But it’s yet to outline plans to address more serious reforms to plug this gap, including an agency to actually enforce protections and make them real.

It remains to be seen whether all these historic integrity reforms, when complete, will be enough to reverse Australia’s decade-long slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. (Click here to read more)

The Mandarin reported:

Clancy Moore, CEO at the Transparency International Australia (TIA), told The Mandarin while the TIA welcomed whistleblower protections in the legislation, they were disappointed there would not be an independent whistleblowing protection authority.

“To be clear, our whistleblowing laws need a complete overhaul. We need a centralised authority, a one-stop-shop to ensure whistleblowers are properly protected and listened to,” Moore said.

“For the NACC to be as effective as possible it needs people to come forward and report the problems they see. Otherwise searching for corruption can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

“Tackling corruption can be like playing whack-a-mole. While the NACC is at the heart of integrity reform — it can’t stop corruption alone. We can prevent corruption and help the NACC detect corruption with better laws to empower whistleblowers and limit the influence of political donations and lobbying.” (Click here to read more)

We need a Whistleblower Commissioner who is independent of the National Anti-Corruption Commission but who could protect people who give evidence at the NACC.

By not protecting whistleblowers anywhere near as much as they could the government has limited how much corruption the National Anti-Corruption Commission will investigate not only for past corruption but also for future corruption. And that is the key feature of the backroom deal that Anthony Albanese has done with Peter Dutton.

Massive breach of the principles of open justice

The principle of open justice is that hearings should be in open court, except in exceptional circumstances, so that the public and media can see what is really happening. And that is what is meant to keep everyone honest, including the judges.

The government has done a huge backflip as they promised public hearings during the 2022 federal election campaign but now say public hearings should only happen in “exceptional circumstances”. It’s got corruption all over it and I’ll do an article just on this issue soon.

I wanted this article to focus on the failed whistleblower protections in the National Anti-Corruption Commission so I only touched on the other failings in the NACC legislation above and I will do another article and video on them soon. The government has set up an inquiry to review the NACC legislation and I plan on making submissions to it.

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24 replies »

  1. Not surprised at all, smoke and mirrors from ALP/LNP, all tarred with the same brush, appointment of ex ALP hack to High Commissioner position London, continuation of prosecution of whistleblowers, claims to not infringe on national security, in the public interest, secret hearings and whatever they can invent to protect themselves from public scrutiny.
    Somewhat odd that if a footballer is accused of misbehavior it’s front page news whether the accused is innocent yet these elected officials demand secret hearings, if they were honest and acted with intregidy they’d have nothing to fear, the number of MPs at all levels of government that have a reputation of being beyond reproach is extremely low, we’re watching a rehash of the previous Government and not much chance of seeing any light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Hasn’t Albanese been in Parliament for 20 years. Part of the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd Cabinet. Doesn’t that make him part of the reason for the lack of faith in the system? Don’t be fooled, any illegality should be referred immediately to the police, anything dodgy, they will all be crucified.

  2. The legislation is created by lawyers so as to ensure the Judicial structure of Australia is not bought under the spotlight as it is they who run the pirate ship. I E Liberal, Labor = Lawyer party.

  3. The major political parties are part of the Establishment and it has always protected its own. I was part of divorce reform and after being turned away with scorn by the Coal-ition, we struck Labor in a reforming mood. Divorce, a milk-cow for the legal profession, shifted to the new Family Court with our recommendations for NO lawyers. Which rapidly disappeared so you have another millk-cow today. We wanted Labor to prosecute the legal profession and the judiciary for their corruption, but they weren`t prepared to be that generous. So, the corrupt were protected and here we are today.

  4. Can’t help feeling the COALition wrote this bill. It’s very, very disappointing and if they won’t go back and rewrite the bill so that whistleblowers are encouraged to report corruption without being treated as criminals, and all hearings are public, I won’t be giving them my vote in 2025 or ever again. I guess our keyboards will have to run hot as we bombard government MPs with emails expressing our displeasure

  5. Both major parties are full of grandiose x lawyers and solicitors and they are a law unto themselves.What hope has any pleb got to change anything where politics are involved. The whole political situation is one big farce and any thought of running the country in an acceptable way is secondary to their own interests.

  6. It’s a huge Buddy-Buddy club where almost everything is almost perfect for the members. But never satisfied, all pull to achieve that 150% perfection in lifestyle for themselves. If, by good luck or fortune the riff raff who toil, create and develop should garner a few crumbs, treacle tongued Flim-flam spivs within the walls will spew forth anointing accolades imposing the impression that all that is great emits from the highcockalorem. Less will always be heard about the person who developed the cure than the minister that permitted it to enter the market. However, now and then someone of integrity will push their nose up through the froth and bubble and perhaps indiscreetly comment on some nefarious antic which exposed may if not stifled promptly, move common folk votes to the detriment of the sitting popinjays and possibly endanger the whole structure. Why speak? I don’t know. Sort of like playing ping pong on the deck of a cruise ship. These whistle blowers are like the occasional ball that goes overboard. Lost, but quickly replaced and forgotten. The game goes on just as it always has, does, and as things are set, probably will for ever more.

  7. Do not know why this is such a surprise??? ALL, I mean all in politics are corrupt, if everyone is just waking up well done!! There has never been a justice system/or a lawful one. Thanks to KCA and the brilliant work, we are all able to learn, a little with every post. With every bill that is passed it is wrong, these people ARE SUPPOSE to be working for the people of Australia, ( not commonwealth of Australia ) Thanks KCA!!!

  8. The Labor (sic) Party obviously pushed the ICAC to win votes but to now turn around and weaken the forthcoming Legislation smacks of corruption within the ranks of the mispelt Labour Party. (The “u” was dropped in the early 1900’s when the Labour Party were in a sycophantic relationship with the U.S.). Well written piece, KCA and thank you for taking up the cudgel on this one.

  9. As someone has pointed out elsewhere, what`s to stop the Coal-ition rolling back the Fed ICAC (NCCC) LITE to a shadow of itself when they next come to power? Investigations and prosecutions are always long-winded affairs thanks to the delaying tactics of the legal profession. Just when the apparatus is on the verge of convicting someone, a change in government will wipe out progress. And so Australia trudges on.

  10. I have been through the public interest disclosure process, without a doubt it was the actions of public officials involved in that process that made it traumatising – constant gaslighting and lying. One thing I remember is that they all held themselves of be models of integrity and got defensive and outraged if challenged. I have never felt more unsafe then in the hands of my fellow public servants. I would not do it again, simply because the whole system is setup to smother these claims and wear down the “Whistleblower”. I intend to write to my Federal MP and express my disappointment with the inadequacies of this proposed legislation but I fear it is a done deal.

    • Completely understand how you must feel after going through that ordeal. However you will be wasting your time writing to a member of a corrupt parliament.
      I am at a loss as to why Australia has not yet had a revolution.

  11. I wondered why ex Labor leader Bill Shorten didn’t use the 2 weeks in February 2019, when the Morrison government were in a minority, to introduce a bill into that parliamentary sitting for a Federal ICAC.
    He would have had the support of the lower house Independents. Been able to push it threw.
    May have won the May 2019 election for Labor.
    But he chose not too.
    And lost that election.
    And this:
    Labor defends opposition of investigation into Crown Casino controversy | SBS News
    4 Aug 2019 — The ACLEI inquiry has been criticised because it has no power to investigate MPs and ministers, but Mr Albanese suggested that could be overcome …
    Anthony Albanese says he has seen no evidence of corruption in Federal politics ( from The Guardian) Katherine Murphy
    Labor wouldn’t want an investigation as that would bring past Labor right faction Senator Mark Arbib and Labor 9th Secretary of the ALP Karl Bitar into the spotlight.
    Who both at one time worked for Crown Casino.
    Labor certainly doesn’t really want a too open Federal ICAC.
    And is not interested in whistleblower protection.
    Just look at the way Julian Assange was and is treated by Labor.

  12. Well done KCA . Myself and family have tried desperately to get justice for the latest nsw fishing reforms introduced in 2017 which saw millions of dollars wasted . We have so much evidence of of corruption fraud and purgery but no one seems to be the least bit interested except for the shooters fishers farmers party as they continue to ask questions in government but all questions come back with lies and have been proven so many times but no accountability. We even have proof we’re a person who was not a real person received over $300000 of tax payers money and no justice go figure ? When I got stitched up in Supreme Court by government judges ( how dare you take on the government) one of those judges Margaret Beazely gets government promotion soon after ! This system is a disgrace

  13. The comments here are always excellent. They reveal the legal profession lurking in the background of the NACC legislation.

    Legal terms I like are ‘privilege’ and ‘discretionary’. It’s why lawyers love secrecy and always get a good nights sleep with the help of some expensive brandy.

    The problem with their World view is that it will be they who judge themselves. Only they know all the dirty, corrupt deeds they have. You can control the serfs on Earth but you can’t control the wheels of the universe when you are adrift for eternity without a conscience.

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