Parliament tested as whistelblower bill goes to a vote

BOTH major parties have been called on to pass the Federal Government's whistleblower protection bill, as parliament resumes for the final week of sittings before the election.

After extensive changes to the bill last week, Griffith University Professor of public policy and law AJ Brown has called for the bill to be passed urgently.

Originally promised in 2007, the bill was part of the Gillard Government's agreements with independent MPs Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.

Prof Brown said changes made to the bill last week by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus made the proposed laws "the most comprehensive protection regime for public sector whistleblowers" in the country.

"There are still gaps in the scheme - especially lack of protection when officials report wrongdoing by politicians, and significant exclusions for intelligence agencies," he said.

"However, in all other circumstances, if federal public servants, contractors, and employees of contractors report wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector, they will now receive a historic level of protection."

Prof Brown said all political parties needed to commit to passing the bill this week to ensure the completion of the government's 2010 promise.



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