03 February 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will protect and reward the brave Australians who blow the whistle on crime and corruption, including in the banking and financial sector.

If elected, Labor will:

  • Set up a Whistleblower Rewards Scheme;
  • Establish a Whistleblower Protection Authority;
  • Overhaul our whistleblowing laws with a single Whistleblowing Act; and
  • Fund a special prosecutor to bring corporate criminals to justice.

The Banking Royal Commission has highlighted appalling and even criminal misconduct in the banking sector. It was only possible because brave whistleblowers and bank victims came forward – and Labor listened.
The Liberals did everything they could to protect the banks from the Royal Commission and keep this misconduct hidden. Scott Morrison voted 26 times against the Banking Royal Commission, and he wants to give the banks a massive tax handout.
Right now, blowing the whistle on crime and misconduct is incredibly difficult, with whistleblowers often facing reprisals, and some are never able to work again. For many Australians who see wrongdoing and want it to stop, blowing the whistle isn’t worth the risk.
This shouldn’t be the case, and Labor doesn’t want to see good people punished for doing the right thing.
Labor will establish a Whistleblower Rewards Scheme to make it easier for good people to come forward and report instances of crime and misconduct.
The scheme will allow whistleblowers to receive a percentage of the penalties arising out of wrongdoing that they reveal.
Once a crook is hit with a financial penalty as a result of whistleblowing, the Whistleblower Rewards Scheme will allow a proportion of the penalty to be given as a reward to the whistleblower. The relevant investigative or law enforcement agency will have discretion to determine the level of the reward within a legislated range.  
The Whistleblower Rewards Scheme would be funded by the penalties collected by the Government.
Labor will also strengthen protections for whistleblowers through the establishment of a Whistleblower Protection Authority – a one-stop-shop to support and protect whistleblowers.
The Authority will have dedicated staff to advise whistleblowers on their rights, assist them through the disclosure process and help them access compensation if they face reprisals.
Labor believes all whistleblowers should be treated the same – regardless of the type of workplace they’re in. But right now, our whistleblower laws are opaque and inconsistent.
A Shorten Labor Government will create a single Australian Whistleblowing Act, consolidating all mainstream whistleblowing legislation into one location so that whistleblowers can readily understand how they are protected.
This will be a major shakeup of Australia’s whistleblowing regime. We will undertake detailed design work to make sure the new laws, the proposed Rewards Scheme and the Whistleblower Protection Authority are powerful and effective.
Labor is committed to cracking down on misconduct and corruption in the banking and financial services sector.
These announcements build on our commitment for a Banking Royal Commission Implementation Taskforce, and to deliver an extra $25 million over the next two years for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to tackle corporate crime.
As part of this funding, Labor will appoint a special prosecutor to crack down on corporate criminals.
The choice is clear. While Labor fought for the Banking Royal Commission and will crack down on white collar crime, Scott Morrison and the Liberals voted 26 times against the Banking Royal Commission and want to give the banks a tax handout.
Labor will deliver a fair go for all Australians. Morrison and the Liberals are only for the top end of town.