Australian Government plans to introduce new laws protecting whistleblowers

The Australian Financial Services Minister recently announced that the Government is planning to introduce legislation to Parliament later this year, which would improve protections for those who blow the whistle on corruption or unethical behaviour. Under the legislative proposal, corporations could be forced to pay compensation relative to the employee's salary or a lost promotional opportunity. Also under consideration is a 'bounty-style' reward system modelled on the US measures, which reward whistleblowers whose reports lead to the successful prosecution of a fraud on the government or a breaching of securities laws.   

Momentum to establish a federal anti-corruption agency

The Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission, the Senate committee investigating the establishment of a national anti-corruption commission has heard evidence regarding a gap to be filled in the area of investigating serious and systemic corruption at a federal level. The Select Committee is due to report by August 2017. Calls for a federal anti-corruption agency have also been voiced by the Australia Institute and former judge Tony Fitzgerald AC QC. As part of their campaign the Australia Institute and Mr Fitzgerald are surveying every federal MP and Senator on their values of accountability and integrity. The outcomes of the survey are to be published in the lead up to the Accountability and the Law 2017 Conference to be held in Canberra in August.   

AUSTRAC working as part of project to uncover beneficial owners of offshore companies and trusts 

AUSTRAC is involved in an international project to uncover strategies used to obscure the beneficial ownership of offshore companies and trusts. The Chief Executive of AUSTRAC, Peter Clark, said that the project was linked to the broader investigation that is underway into the Panama Papers through the Serious Financial Crime Task Force. Part of the project will explore the role professional facilitators play in setting up and maintaining these structures worldwide.