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Whistleblowing and self-reporting

Whistleblowing

Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?

At present, there is no general legislative protection for whistleblowers who report bribery. However, some specific legislation protection deals with whistleblowing, including the following:

  • The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) offers protection for public officials.
  • If a person discloses information in good faith to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or a senior company manager that an officer or employee has contravened the Corporations Act or the ASIC Act, that person may be offered protection.
  • The Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth), the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth), the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1973 (Cth) and the Banking Act 1959 (Cth) all offer whistleblower protection in regard to reporting bribery.

Self-reporting

Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?

No regulation covers the self-reporting of foreign bribery to the Australian Federal Police. When the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Phase 3 Report was written, three companies had self-reported acts of bribery. In all three cases, the police proceeded with investigations.

Self-reporting is an increasing consideration for Australian corporations facing anti-bribery allegations. Australian companies are aware that an internal compliance investigation may then provide a basis for advice to a company’s director that such regulation would be beneficial in terms of mitigating prosecution. This should be considered by any company where minor or substantial allegations have been raised.

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