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Whistleblowers Australia

About Us

What For?

The goal of Whistleblowers Australia (WBA) is to help promote a society in which it is possible to speak out without reprisal about corruption, dangers to the public and environment, and other vital social issues, and to help those who speak out in this way to help themselves.

The group is for those who have exposed corruption or any form of malpractice, especially if they were then hindered or abused, and for those who are thinking of exposing it or who wish to support those who are doing so. A person is a whistleblower by her/his actions and does not need to be registered or identified with any organisation.

WBA uses two main approaches: to encourage self-help and mutual help among whistleblowers, and to support campaigns on specific issues. 

Self-help and mutual help

The best ways for whistleblowers to succeed is to develop their own skills and understanding and to exchange insights with others in similar situations. WBA facilitates self-help by providing articles and leaflets to whistleblowers and by publishing a newsletter. The organisation facilitates mutual help by holding meetings of  whistleblowers and supporters, and by providing contacts with like-minded individuals and groups.

The organisation
WBA began as Whistleblowers Anonymous in 1991, and was incorporated in its present form in 1993. (See our History page for more information.) Membership is open to anyone who supports the goals of the organisation. Members include charity workers, church employees, corporate employees, doctors, police, public servants, researchers, teachers and concerned citizens in general.
     WBA has a committee or contact in each state, plus a national committee. The national committee offers advice, handles memberships, produces a newsletter and helps promote campaigns.
    Since it was set up, WBA has promoted whistleblower legislation, called for royal commissions into corruption and generally given whistleblowing a much higher profile. Just as important is its quiet work in supporting individual whistleblowers. It provides enormous benefits from shared expertise, moral support, access to research, and links to relevant networks.
     There are limits to what WBA can do. It does not normally act as an advocate for individual whistleblowers. It has only minimal funds obtained from memberships. All committee members act on a voluntary basis. Unfortunately, WBA does not have the resources to campaign on any individual's behalf. What WBA can do is provide information and contacts so that whistleblowers and their supporters can become more effective in achieving their own goals.

Reform agenda

WBA supports initiatives and ongoing efforts to create a culture where people can speak out without reprisal.

  • Free speech for employees and others. Repressive legislation and bureaucracies inhibit many workers from making disclosures. Comprehensive legislative reform is needed to enshrine the right of private- and public-sector employees and others to speak out on matters of social importance in the wider public interest.
  • Immunity from prosecution for journalists. Current legislation places a journalist at risk of prosecution for contempt for refusing to reveal a whistleblower's identity in court proceedings. Comprehensive legislative reform is needed to enshrine the right of a journalist to put the public's right to know ahead of any government or other interest without fear of prosecution in the absence of any national security risk.
  • Challenging defamation restraints. Australia's defamation laws are mainly helpful to the rich and powerful and frequently operate to prevent the exposure of harmful, possibly corrupt behaviour by way of confidential settlements that deny the public its right to know. Legislation needs to be reformed to limit satisfaction to a full public correction of the alleged defamatory statements prominently displayed in the news media, together with a full disclosure of the grounds of settlement. Defamation suits should not be permitted to remain a litigation opportunity.
  • Whistleblowing legislation. Whistleblowers can be protected by laws against reprisals. There are whistleblowing acts in every state and territory, with no conformity between them. All have severe flaws and have been criticised by whistleblower-supporting organisations. One problem is that they don't actually provide protection against attacks in the first place.