Are The Government’s Whistleblowing Laws Unconstitutional?

Jonathan Crowe, Danielle Ireland-Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceProfessional


Recent debates over the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru have drawn attention to the difficulty of gaining accurate information about conditions in offshore detention centres. This is partly due to legal restrictions on government employees or contractors sharing or reporting such information.

A whistleblower is someone (typically an insider) who brings attention to wrongdoing in a public organisation. Whistleblowers play an important role in ensuring accountability of public bodies. They can act as a safeguard against the tendency of powerful organisations to close ranks against outsiders.

We argue in a recent article that the Australian Constitution requires a minimum level of protection for whistleblowers. Current legal restrictions on whistleblowing contravene the constitutional freedom of political communication by unreasonably limiting discussions of government policy and performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNgara Institute
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018


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