Retaliation Against Whistleblowers

Whistleblower retaliation refers to adverse actions taken against a person who exposes misconduct, illegal activity, or other types of wrongdoing within an organization. In Australia, there have been several high-profile cases of whistleblower retaliation in recent years, highlighting the need for stronger protections for those who come forward to report wrongdoings.

  1. Commonwealth Bank: In 2018, a former Commonwealth Bank financial planner, Jeff Morris, raised concerns about widespread fraud and unethical practices within the bank. Despite being a protected whistleblower, Morris was subjected to retaliation, including harassment and demotion.
  2. 7-Eleven: In 2015, 7-Eleven franchisees were exposed for underpaying workers and breaching visa regulations. Whistleblowers who raised these concerns were subjected to retaliation, including termination, and in some cases, physical threats.
  3. Australian Border Force: In 2016, a senior Australian Border Force (ABF) officer, Alison Scott, was demoted after she raised concerns about the ABF’s handling of refugees and its use of excessive force. Scott’s case led to an investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, which found that her treatment constituted whistleblower retaliation.

These cases highlight the need for stronger protections for whistleblowers in Australia, as well as the importance of creating a culture where reporting wrongdoing is encouraged and retaliation is not tolerated. The Australian government has taken steps to improve protections for whistleblowers, including the creation of a whistleblower protection regime, but much work remains to be done to ensure that those who speak out are fully protected from retaliation.

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