The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued a statement applauding the enactment of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2018 by Parliament on 19 February 2019.
According to the new laws:
The definition of a whistleblower now includes former and current employees, contractors and officers as well as their spouses and children. Anonymous whistleblowers are also part of this group.
Whistleblowers who report misconduct and fraudulent activities related to matters governed by financial sector regulations are also covered. This group also includes those who report commonwealth offences that attract jail terms of 12 months and above.
The new laws also created new civil penalties for those who victimize whistleblowers in addition to the existing criminal charges.
The law also protects whistleblowers who reach out to journalists and Parliamentary leaders in specific cases.
The law makes it easier for whistleblowers to seek compensation in case they incur losses related to their disclosures.
The new law mandates big proprietary companies, public companies and trustees of registered super annuities to create and implement whistleblower policies.
Warren Day, ASIC Executive Director explained that:
These reforms will help ASIC to perform our important regulatory role by encouraging people who have observed misconduct to come forward. They complement the measures we have put in place since 2014 to improve our processes for assessing whistleblower reports and communicating with whistleblowers during our inquiries.