Who needs a Whistleblower Policy in Australia?

Understanding Mandatory Requirements and Important Legislation about whistleblowing in Australia

Who needs a Whistleblower Policy in Australia?

Whistleblowing plays a vital role in promoting transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors. Whistleblowers are individuals who expose wrongdoing, illegal activities, or unethical behaviour within organisations. They act as a crucial source of information, helping to uncover and address issues that may otherwise go unnoticed. To ensure the protection of whistleblowers and encourage them to come forward, many countries, including Australia, have introduced legislation and policies. In this article, we will delve into the topic of whistleblowing in Australia, focusing on who needs a whistleblower policy, the mandatory requirements, and important legislation associated with whistleblowing.

Who will benefit from a whistleblower policy in Australia? Here are a few organisations that will benefit from implementing a whistleblower policy in Australia:

  • Large corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofit organisations
  • Educational institutions
  • Healthcare organisations
  • Financial institutions
  • Professional associations

Is a Whistleblowing Policy Mandatory in Australia?

In Australia, having a whistleblowing policy is not currently mandatory for all organisations. However, there are specific entities that are required to establish and maintain a policy to facilitate the reporting and investigation of wrongdoing. These entities include public companies, large proprietary companies, and registrable superannuation entities. Additionally, some sectors have their own regulatory requirements that mandate the implementation of whistleblowing policies. For example, the financial services sector is subject to the requirements set out in the Corporations Act 2001.

It is important to note that although a comprehensive whistleblower policy may not be mandatory for all organisations, the protection of whistleblowers is supported by various legislative frameworks in Australia. These frameworks aim to encourage reporting, ensure fair treatment of whistleblowers, and deter any form of retaliation.

Protect your most valuable assets with our industry-leading whistleblower hotline program.

Protect your most valuable assets with our industry-leading whistleblower hotline program.

Important Legislation About Whistleblowing in Australia

  1. Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013: The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PID Act) is a federal legislation that establishes a framework for making disclosures by public officials about suspected wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector. The PID Act protects public officials who make disclosures from reprisals and provides avenues for the investigation of such disclosures. It aims to foster a culture of accountability and integrity within public sector organisations.
  2. Corporations Act 2001: The Corporations Act encompasses provisions related to whistleblowing in the corporate sector. Under section 1317AI, public companies, large proprietary companies, and registrable superannuation entities are required to have a whistleblower policy in place. The policy must outline the procedures for making protected disclosures, the support and protection available to whistleblowers, and how investigations will be conducted. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in penalties for the organisation and individuals involved.
  3. Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act (ASIC Act) empowers the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to regulate the conduct of financial entities and ensure the integrity of the financial system. The ASIC Act includes provisions that protect whistleblowers who report misconduct or breaches of financial laws. It establishes safeguards to prevent detrimental treatment of whistleblowers and allows for the provision of anonymous disclosures.
  4. Taxation Administration Act 1953: The Taxation Administration Act provides protections for individuals who disclose information relating to tax evasion, avoidance, or fraud. Whistleblowers who make disclosures in good faith are protected from civil, criminal, or administrative liability. The Act also safeguards their identity and prohibits retaliation.

Benefits of Implementing a Whistleblower Policy

While a comprehensive whistleblower policy may not be mandatory for all organisations in Australia, there are several benefits to implementing one voluntarily. These benefits include:

  1. Encouraging a Speak-Up Culture: A whistleblower policy demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to transparency and accountability. It encourages employees to report any wrongdoing without fear of reprisals, fostering a culture where concerns can be addressed internally.
  2. Early Detection and Prevention of Wrongdoing: Whistleblower reports can help organisations detect and address misconduct at an early stage, minimising potential financial, reputational, and legal consequences. By providing a clear reporting mechanism, a whistleblower policy enables organisations to take prompt action and implement preventive measures to mitigate risks.
  3. Protecting Whistleblowers: Implementing a whistleblower policy ensures that individuals who report wrongdoing are protected from retaliation. Whistleblowers play a crucial role in uncovering misconduct, and their willingness to come forward should be supported and safeguarded. A policy that guarantees confidentiality, non-retaliation, and appropriate support for whistleblowers can encourage more disclosures and contribute to a safer and more ethical work environment.
  4. Enhancing Corporate Governance: A whistleblower policy strengthens the overall governance framework of an organisation. It demonstrates a commitment to ethical conduct, integrity, and compliance with laws and regulations. By addressing concerns raised by whistleblowers in a timely and effective manner, organisations can uphold their reputations and maintain stakeholder trust.
  5. Meeting Regulatory Expectations: Even though a comprehensive whistleblower policy may not be mandatory for all organisations, regulators and authorities in various sectors expect companies to have mechanisms in place to handle disclosures of wrongdoing. Having a well-designed policy demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to complying with legal and regulatory requirements.
Core Integrity

Designing an Effective Whistleblower Policy

When designing a whistleblower policy, organisations should consider the following key elements:


  1. Clear Reporting Channels: The policy should clearly outline how whistleblowers can make protected disclosures and provide multiple reporting channels, such as a dedicated hotline, email, or in-person reporting. Anonymity options should be made available to ensure confidentiality.
  2. Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation: The policy should emphasise the organisation’s commitment to protecting the confidentiality of whistleblowers and prohibit any form of retaliation. Whistleblowers should feel secure in their decision to come forward and report wrongdoing.
  3. Investigation Process: The policy should outline the procedures for conducting investigations into reported disclosures. It should specify how investigations will be carried out, the timelines involved, and the steps taken to ensure impartiality and fairness.
  4. Support and Assistance: Whistleblowers should be provided with access to appropriate support and resources throughout the reporting and investigation process. This can include legal advice, counselling services, and protection against adverse employment actions.
  5. Communication and Awareness: Organisations should actively communicate the existence of the whistleblower policy to all employees. Training programs and awareness campaigns can help educate employees about their rights and responsibilities, as well as the benefits of reporting misconduct.

While a whistleblower policy may not be mandatory for all organisations in Australia, it is essential to recognise the importance of whistleblowing in promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct. Whistleblowers serve as critical agents for positive change, uncovering wrongdoing and enabling organisations to address issues promptly. By voluntarily implementing a comprehensive whistleblower policy, organisations can foster a culture of integrity, protect whistleblowers, and strengthen their governance practices. It is crucial for organisations to stay informed about the relevant legislation and regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and create an environment where ethical concerns can be raised and addressed without fear of reprisals.

We help organisations in Queensland respond to instances of fraud and employee misconduct the right way - the first time


What Should a Whistleblower Policy Include?

A well-designed whistleblower policy is crucial for organisations seeking to establish effective mechanisms for reporting and addressing wrongdoing. While the specific content of a policy may vary depending on the nature of the organisation and applicable regulations, the following are key elements that should be included:

  1. Purpose and Scope: Begin the policy by clearly stating its purpose, which is to encourage the reporting of misconduct, illegal activities, or unethical behaviour within the organisation. Specify the policy’s applicability to all employees, contractors, suppliers, and stakeholders.
  2. Definitions: Provide clear definitions of terms such as “whistleblower,” “protected disclosure,” “retaliation,” and any other relevant terminology. This ensures that all parties understand the language used in the policy.
  3. Reporting Channels: Outline multiple reporting channels through which whistleblowers can make protected disclosures. This can include a dedicated hotline, email address, or a designated person within the organisation who can receive and handle reports. Emphasise that anonymous reporting options are available to protect confidentiality.
  4. Confidentiality: Highlight the organisation’s commitment to maintaining the confidentiality of whistleblowers and their disclosures. Assure whistleblowers that their identity will be protected to the extent permitted by law and that disclosure of their identity will only occur in limited circumstances where required by legal obligations or investigations.
  5. Non-Retaliation: Explicitly state that the organisation prohibits any form of retaliation against whistleblowers. Emphasise that individuals who make protected disclosures will be protected from adverse employment actions, harassment, or discrimination. Clearly outline the consequences for anyone found engaging in retaliation.
  6. Investigation Process: Detail the steps that will be taken once a disclosure is received, including how investigations will be conducted, the timeline for the investigation, and the involvement of relevant stakeholders. Specify that investigations will be carried out fairly, impartially, and with due regard for the rights of all parties involved.
  7. Protection and Support: Describe the support and assistance that will be provided to whistleblowers throughout the reporting and investigation process. This may include access to legal advice, counselling services, and protection against adverse employment actions. Provide contact information for relevant support resources.
  8. Communication and Awareness: Outline the organisation’s commitment to raising awareness about the whistleblower policy. Describe the methods that will be used to communicate the policy to all employees, such as training programs, employee handbooks, or intranet portals. Encourage a culture of ethical behaviour and emphasise that reporting misconduct is everyone’s responsibility.
  9. Compliance and Accountability: State that the organisation is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations related to whistleblowing. Specify that the policy will be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in legislation or organisational needs. Hold individuals accountable for any violation of the policy.
  10. Record-Keeping: Explain the organisation’s record-keeping practices regarding whistleblower reports and investigations. Detail how records will be stored securely and for how long. Emphasise the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of these records.

A comprehensive whistleblower policy is an essential tool for organisations seeking to promote transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour. By including the elements mentioned above, organisations can establish a robust reporting framework that protects whistleblowers, ensures fair investigations, and deters retaliation. It is important to tailor the policy to the specific needs of the organisation and regularly review and update it to align with changing legal requirements and best practices. A well-implemented whistleblower policy demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to integrity and fosters a culture where employees feel empowered to raise concerns without fear of reprisals.

Contact Us

Choose Core Integrity for your Whistleblower Hotline Services

Selecting the appropriate provider for a whistleblower hotline service in Australia holds significant importance for organisations dedicated to maintaining integrity, transparency, and accountability. Core Integrity presents a multitude of advantages encompassing expertise, tailored solutions, secure reporting mechanisms, round-the-clock availability, thorough case management, adherence to whistleblower protection legislation, employee support and training, and ongoing enhancements. By opting for Core Integrity as their whistleblower hotline service provider, organisations can reinforce their ethics and compliance initiatives, foster a climate of openness, and cultivate trust among employees, stakeholders, and the broader society.

Core Integrity provide Whistleblower Hotline Services to organisations in:



Results we’ve achieved for clients

What our clients say

How good is your Whistleblower Program?

Get your score in under 2 minutes


How good is your Whistleblower Program?

Get your score in under 2 minutes

Let's chat

Leave us a message and we will get back to you to book a meeting:

*Required fields

Are you looking to submit a report? Please click here.

Call Now Button