Whistleblower laws need review to protect ACT public servants

Bullying in ACT Health that continues to go unanswered shows why whistleblower laws need to be reviewed and reformed, Shadow Minister for Public Sector Management Candice Burch said.

Today in the Legislative Assembly, Ms Burch will call for an ACT Public Service-wide review into the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 to determine the effectiveness of current workplace mechanisms that deal with cases of whistleblowing in the ACT Public Service.

The allegations of bullying and misconduct within ACT Health have prompted the Opposition to demand greater transparency from the ACT government, and action to protect ACT Public Servants.

“Every worker has the right to a safe and honest workplace,” Ms Burch said.

“The endemic culture of bullying and harassment in the public health system must be accounted for.

“Public servants need safe and respectful pathways to report troubling incidents.

“Instead, I’m told that they are often vilified, or met with potential career-damaging threats or verbal abuse.

“Of the 17 reports of misconduct made in 2017, only seven were referred for investigation. At a federal level, reform to Public Interest Disclosure legislation has been raised as being necessary for higher levels of reporting and safer environments for public servants. ” Ms Burch said.

The motion moved by Ms Burch will also call for the report to examine the perception of whistleblowing in the ACT Public Service.

“A top-to-bottom cultural change regarding the perceptions of whistleblowing is required.

“The Labor-Green government’s reluctance to promote transparency suggests that they are unwilling to protect ACT Public Servants.”