Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Leader
The Greens were pleased and encouraged to see our Public Interest Disclosures (Members of Parliament) Bill 2021 pass through the Parliament yesterday.
This Bill amended the state's whistleblower laws to improve protections and processes related to public interest disclosures made about Members of Parliament and their staff.
Whistleblowers have played a vital role in our democracy in making sure those in positions of power who decide to do the wrong thing are held to account. It's crucial that the processes provided for whistleblowers are free of any potential for political interference.
Previously, disclosures related to MPs had to be made to the Speaker or the President of the Legislative Council - in other words, politicians who may have a political self-interest in either pursuing or not pursuing the matter. This arrangement was a clear deterrent to anyone wanting to come forward in the public interest.
With our Bill now passed, this process will change to allow whistleblowers to instead make their disclosure to the Integrity Commission or the Ombudsman.
We recognise Tasmania's whistleblower laws are in need of broader reform, but this is in itself an important change to the law. It will ensure that anyone who is considering blowing the whistle about an MP or their staff can do so in the knowledge the matter will be handled appropriately.
It's been encouraging to see this Bill progress in a such a collaborative way. In particular we acknowledge the Attorney-General and her office for working constructively with us on amendments, and to the Member for Mersey Mike Gaffney for taking the Bill through the Legislative Council.