G20 should build arena for louder whistle-blowing
Experts say Australian governments can stop corruption while saving money and even lives, through enhanced whistleblower protections.
Researchers have looked into the legal situation around workers, public and private, who choose to shine a light on dodgy practices, cost-cutting and other backroom behaviours.
They say Australia falls a way behind other G20 nations when it comes to protecting workers who must not stay silent, and the only reason not to improve is to continue protecting big business and government.
Melbourne and Griffith University researchers compared the safeguards offered in G20 nations, and found that Australia ranks somewhere around the middle.
The team has been dubbed Blueprint for Free Speech and Transparency International Australia, and has put together its report in the lead-up to the G20 summit in Brisbane this November.
The world's twenty strongest economies have committed to boosting whistleblower protections several times, but report author Dr Suelette Dreyfus says plenty more could be done.
“I don't think that average is good enough, really,” she told the ABC.
“Australia should be charging ahead... and there's no reason not to. It's made a commitment to do this.
“While there's been significant advances over the last few years compared to where we were at in say 2010, there's still a long way to travel.”
She said stronger job protections would encourage more people to lift the lid, fighting the corruption that the G20 have determined costs governments about $1 trillion per year.
“They ensure that taxpayer money isn't wasted on fraudulent activities. They ensure that our consumer products we buy at the supermarket or cars, that sort of thing, are safer,” she said.
“Whistleblowing is a kind of collective moral conscience. It's quite a cost-effective way for stopping things like fraud in companies and in governments.”