ASIC New Whistleblowing Laws

On Feb. 21, ASIC welcomed passing of new whistleblowing laws.

  • ASIC welcomed the passing of treasury laws amendment (enhancing whistleblower protections) bill 2018, which was approved by Parliament late on Feb. 19, 2019.
  • Significantly improves protections for whistleblowers who report company misconduct.
  • Reforms
  • Broaden the whistleblower definition to include both current and former employees, officers, and contractors, as well as spouses / dependents, anonymous disclosures.
  • Extend the protections to whistleblower reports that allege misconduct or improper state of affairs or circumstances about any matter covered by financial sector law.
  • As well as Commonwealth offenses punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more.
  • Create civil penalty provisions, in addition to the existing criminal offenses, for causing detriment to (or victimizing) a whistleblower and for any breaches of confidentiality.
  • Provide protections for disclosures to journalists, parliamentarians in certain events.
  • Provide whistleblowers with access to compensation, remedies if they suffer loss.
  • Require public companies, large proprietary companies, to have whistleblower policy.
  • Effectiveness
  • ASIC’s Office of the Whistleblower will oversee the implementation of the reforms when they commence from Jul. 1, 2019, the current regime can be found here.