A bill allowing whistleblowers to go public with alleged misconduct within South Australian government ranks will be tabled in
parliament this week.
The legislation, which complements shield laws for journalists introduced last week, gives whistleblowers the option to go public
if their complaint has not been investigated within three months.
“It’s absolutely critical that if someone in a department sees something going on and reports it, they ought to expect that it’s going
to be investigated,” Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman told reporters on Monday.
She cited past reports by Independent Commissioner for Corruption Bruce Lander which found whistleblower legislation in its
current form was rarely used.
“People felt worried about their employment, that they’d lose their job, that they’d miss out on advancement, that their family might
be prejudiced in some way,” she said.
Under the new legislation, retribution in terms of employment or promotion disadvantage would also become illegal.
“We say that it’s important they have this protection,” Ms Chapman said.
“We are committed to ensure that our public sector is given this protection and it’s also consistent with the fact that we now give
them a very strict obligation to report matters under the ICAC Act.”
The new bill comes after the Liberal government last week introduced separate legislation to shield journalists from criminal or
civil liability if they do not disclose the identity of their sources when the information is in the public interest.
Under the new law, journalists cannot be compelled to answer a question or produce a document that may disclose the identity of
an informant.