Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whistleblower legislation a necessity


I refer to the story about the release of evidence by a terminated whistleblower which implicates executive managers of the Department of Health, as reported in The National (March 28).

There is a dire need for whistleblower protection legislation to be endorsed in Papua New Guinea, which places a mandatory obligation upon public sector organisations to create robust internal procedures to allow for protected disclosures.
A similar argument, although more delicate, can also be made to place a similar obligation on private sector organisations.
A framework whereby employers should create internal procedures to allow employees to make disclosures about serious wrongdoing is necessary for organisations that pride themselves on good governance, best practice, transparency and corporate social responsibility.
Provided that such disclosures are made in accordance with the requirements of the legislation, the employee disclosing information should be entitled to certain protections against reprisal - including protection against disciplinary action being taken by an employer.
Whistleblower legislation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand applies to disclosures concerning "serious wrongdoing" - which broadly relates to significant matters such as unlawful use of public funds, actions that might endanger public health or would constitute an offence, and actions of a public official that are indicative of gross mismanagement.
There is no doubt that whistleblower legislation is relevant to the fight against corruption.
PNG is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the country has an obligation to consider the implementation of such measures under Article 33 of UNCAC which states: "Each state party shall consider into its domestic legal system appropriate measures to provide protection against any unjustified treatment for any person who reports in good faith any facts concerning offences".
It’s time we act.

Deni Tokunai

New Zealand

No comments:

Post a Comment