Whistleblowers Bill update

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017 is still in the Senate despite having been introduced in December 2017. Background.

What is happening? Will it be passed before the next election?

UPDATE: Passed by the Senate with amendments on 6 December 2018, not yet introduced into the House of Representatives.

In March the Minister for Financial Services referred to the need for Labor and cross-bench support.

The Senate Economics Legislation Committee report was delivered on 22 March 2018. Although the Committee recommended that the Bill be passed with an in-built review mechanism it was divided.

The competing views are summarised as follows:

“3.83 The committee is aware that many contributions have commented that the bill has not implemented all recommendations of the [Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services] PJC inquiry. The committee also notes that many said that the bill strikes a good balance. Nevertheless, a minority of contributors continue to believe that the bill is inadequate, suggesting that passing the bill as it stands would mean that nothing more would be done and that it would be an opportunity lost, while some like the Law Council seemed to suggest that it would be better to withdraw the bill altogether and ‘get it right’. Most however, do suggest that the bill should be passed acknowledging that the bill is an improvement on current arrangements, and is at the very least a good step towards reform.

3.84 The committee also notes that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission remarked that passing this bill would not preclude further development of whistleblower protection….

3.86 On balance, the committee is satisfied that the bill is a move in the right direction and will be a valuable contribution to whistleblower protection. It notes that the government is continuing to work on its response to the PJC inquiry, and that further reforms may well be the result.”

Accordingly there is no certainty that the Bill will be passed in the near future.

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