The University has appointed the General Counsel, Celine McInerney, as the Whistleblower Officer.
The General Counsel manages the investigations and reporting in accordance with the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993 (SA), and the University’s Fraud Control Plan.
For more information phone (08) 8313 6080.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who exposes wrongdoing within an organisation, in the hope of stopping it and preventing it from reoccurring.
The term whistleblower originates from the 19th century practice of English policemen, who would, on witnessing a crime, blow their whistles to alert other police officers and the general public of danger. “To blow the whistle” now means to reveal information about a person or organisation that has:-
- risked public health, safety or the environment;
- acted illegally;
- wasted public money;
- misused public resources; or
- falsified records.
Most whistleblowers are internal whistleblowers who report misconduct to a fellow employee or superior within their company. Whistleblowers show great courage and play a vital role in exposing misconduct and illegal activity within the workplace and assisting with the detection of fraud and corruption.
How does whistleblower protection work?
In South Australia, Parliament has provided for whistleblower protection in the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993 (SA). The Act makes it unlawful to treat people unfairly because they are whistleblowers. The Act provides that the identity of the whistleblower is kept confidential and provides protection for that person from being harassed, sued or prosecuted for disclosing such information.
The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides further whistleblower protection for officers (usually a Director or the Secretary) of companies, employees and contractors of the company and their employees. The whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act apply to the University’s Controlled Entities in limited circumstances where it is reasonably suspected that the company or an officer or employee has breached the Corporations Act or the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001.
To be accorded the protection of the Corporations Act, the disclosure must be to ASIC, the company’s auditor, a director, the secretary or senior manager of the company or a person authorised by the company to receive whistleblower reports.
The General Counsel provides legal advice and remains objective and independent in conducting, facilitating or managing investigations into misconduct and fraud. A person who raises their suspicions of fraudulent or illegal activity within the workplace should feel comfortable to approach the General Counsel to report their suspicions confidentially.
For more information on whistleblower protection refer to the Fraud Control online course available to University staff through MyUni.