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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 1911..

Ayes 15

Noes 0

Mr Barr

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Berry

Ms Porter

Mr Corbell

Mr Pratt

Mrs Dunne

Mr Seselja

Dr Foskey

Mr Smyth

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2006

Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra-Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Arts, Acting Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services and Acting Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (11.42): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The ACT government is strongly committed to the highest standards of accountability and probity. People who disclose information about maladministration in government, whether this is occurring because of negligence, fraud or other improper conduct, are performing a valuable public service. These people are currently protected from reprisals under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994. I am proud to say that the ACT was one of the first Australian jurisdictions to enact legislation protecting whistleblowers.

In 2004, 10 years after this legislation was enacted, the government conducted a review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act, releasing a discussion paper outlining various options for a new and improved system for making public interest disclosures. The government received and considered submissions from the public, including submissions from organisations such as Whistleblowers Australia. The product of this public consultation process is the bill that I have now introduced, containing a new and improved scheme for making public interest disclosures and protecting disclosures from reprisals.

First and foremost of these protections is the system of confidential disclosures established by the bill. Confidentiality of disclosures is ensured by protecting the identity of disclosers from all but the few people who must be involved in investigating a public interest disclosure. The act makes it an offence for anyone who obtains information

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