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Bill Shorten, "Are we a country who wants people to sacrifice everything to expose illegality or corruption"?

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Good question Bill.

Here's Bill Shorten with "Baz" Cassidy talking about Bill's Whistleblower bonus scheme - Bill and "Baz" are obviously on better terms that most of Cassidy's guests.

 

CASSIDY: You've come up with a recommendation of your own around the new protections for whistleblowers but it’s this financial incentive that’s thrown in as well. Why is that there?

SHORTEN: Well, we have a look around the world and the Americans have been able to make some big breakthroughs in financial scandals by basically encouraging some of the people involved to be able to come forward and get a reward. What our plan means for people who are doing the wrong thing is that just be aware of the person next to you because they might just want the reward and not put up with corruption. I want whistleblowers to come forward. And also whistleblowers pay a big price. There’s a lovely fellow, Jeff Morris, he’s paid a big price for coming forward about the Commonwealth Bank and he has suffered great financial disadvantage. Are we a country who says we want people to sacrifice everything to expose illegality or corruption and then we punish them? Because what happens is when a whistleblower comes forward they get punished in many different ways after the event. We're trying to address the balance. I'm determined to make sure the big white-collar crooks, the top end of town, the next time someone cooks up a scheme to park a couple of hundred million dollars away from the eyes of the tax office, when mum and dads have to pay their taxes, we want to say to whistleblowers, ‘we’ve got your back.’

CASSIDY: But you talk about white collar criminals, and in this case that’s who you are targeting, and yet you oppose an ABCC in the area of industrial criminality.

SHORTEN: I think there is a bit of a difference there Baz. First of all, what we are saying is that in workplace relations, just one set of laws. Why do construction workers have to have a different set of laws to everyone else. It’s not fair. We oppose illegality wherever it is. But one of the weaknesses being that whistleblowers haven’t been rewarded.  What we're proposing today could apply in any workplace, any workplace.

CASSIDY: Couldn’t that be the risk though, the reward. It could be quite large, it could be as much as $200,000 in big cases - could that lead to vexatious claims?

SHORTEN: Well, if you think we're catching, if you think that we are hearing all of the insider deals that go on well I don’t share that view. Labor is going to pursue and make sure we restore faith in institutions, not just the government. We've pushed the National Anticorruption Commission, we also want to make sure – and we pushed the banking royal commission. So we’ve been fair dinkum, our record is there. But we want to make sure that whistleblowers don't get punished. I don't believe in a system where we encourage whistleblowers but we then see them financially disadvantaged.

Full interview here .

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