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PSA supports call for whistleblowing review

PSA supports call for whistleblowing review

The Public Service Association is supporting a call for a review of whistleblowing legislation, and would like to see it backed up with a public education campaign.

The Chief Ombudsman has said the Protected Disclosures Act, aimed at protecting whistleblowers, is not working and needs to be reviewed. She says only about 10 to 12 people a year ring her office about the Act and even fewer actually use it to reveal information.

“It’s clear that people don’t have confidence in the Protected Disclosures Act and don’t feel it is the best way to reveal sensitive information or lift the lid on corrupt or dangerous practices,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“The result is that instead of using proper processes people often feel they are left with no choice but to leak information anonymously to the media or politicians. The opportunity to do that is now even greater in the social media environment.”

Allegations of wrongdoing are always difficult and while there are legitimate channels like unions to raise them, under the current legislation whistleblowing cases are handled in the first instance by organisations and employers.

“That makes it very difficult for people to feel confident that their anonymity will be protected and that there will be no adverse consequences for them in the workplace. It’s a perception issue,” says Brenda Pilott.

The PSA believes a review of the legislation would be timely and should be followed up by a public awareness campaign. It would welcome the opportunity to take part in any such review.

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