HAINES: My question is to the Attorney-General. Last week Richard Boyle lost his appeal to seek immunity under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, despite the judge acknowledging that Mr Boyle is a whistleblower. At the last election you promised to fix whistleblower protection laws, but two years on we have not seen a draft bill. Why is the government dragging its feet on whistleblower reform?

ATTORNEY GENERAL: I thank the member for Indi for her question. The government is committed to strong, effective and accessible protections for whistleblowers. In June last year, the government passed priority amendments to the Public Interest Disclosure Act which ensured immediate improvements to the public sector whistleblower protection scheme were in place before the commencement of the National Anti-Corruption Commission on 1 July last year. The reforms implemented 21 of the 33 recommendations from the 2016 review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 that was conducted by the eminent former public servant Mr Philip Moss. I’d note just in passing that those opposite, while in government, did nothing about the 2016 review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

The reforms that we passed last year in June were the first significant public sector whistleblower reforms since the Public Interest Disclosure Act was first enacted in 2013 by the Labor government then in power. We are now progressing a second, broader stage of reforms which includes the release of a consultation paper and public consultation on additional supports for public sector whistleblowers which might include a whistleblower protection authority. Submissions received as part of that consultation process are now being used to inform the government’s next steps for reform. I will not be commenting on matters that remain before Australian courts.

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