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Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Page: 1728


Mr SLIPPER (9:09 AM) —by leave—As Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, I am very pleased to be able to associate myself with the remarks made by the chairman of the committee, the honourable member for Isaacs. This committee has developed, in recent parliaments, a reputation for working together, and this is yet another unanimous report as far as the recommendations are concerned. The chairman, in presenting the report, outlined the need for whistleblowing legislation and, while we always seek to encourage people to come forward, it is obvious that the legislation as it currently exists has serious defects.

All of us have heard of circumstances where people have come forward to expose wrongdoing—to do the right thing, so to speak—but where ultimately their own careers are destroyed. The purpose of this report and of the recommendations—all 26 of them—cumulatively is to create a regime where people are able to make disclosures in the public interest and make sure that those disclosures are properly investigated and, in the process, to try to guarantee that the whistleblower is not personally disadvantaged.

I would also like to thank the highly professional approach of the secretariat. I would like to thank fellow committee members and, in particular, the chairman for, shall we say, organising and running the inquiry in a way that gave all members of the committee—and, indeed, all people who made submissions to the committee—a full opportunity to participate.