Am I a whistleblower?

In general, a whistleblower is an insider within an organisation, who reports misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that has occurred within that same organisation.

However, for the Corporations Act 2001 (the Corporations Act) to recognise and protect you as a ‘whistleblower’, you must meet the five criteria in Table 1 and do certain things when making your disclosure.

Table 1: Criteria for protection as a whistleblower

Criteria Requirement
1. Your role You must be:

  • a current officer (usually that means a director or secretary) of the company your disclosure is about
  • a current employee of the company your disclosure is about, or
  • a contractor, or the employee of a contractor, who has a current contract to supply goods or services to the company your disclosure is about.
2. Who the disclosure is made to You must make your disclosure to:

  • the company’s auditor, or a member of the company’s audit team
  • a director, secretary or senior manager of the company
  • a person authorised by the company to receive whistleblower disclosures, or
  • ASIC.
3. Providing your name You must give your name to the person or authority you are making the disclosure to.
4. Reasonable grounds to suspect breach You must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the information you are disclosing indicates that the company or company officer may have breached the Corporations Act or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001(ASIC Act).
5. Made in good faith You must make the disclosure in ‘good faith’. That means your disclosure must be honest and genuine, and motivated by wanting to disclose misconduct. Your disclosure will not be ‘in good faith’ if you have any other secret or unrelated reason for making the disclosure.

There is no formal registration process for whistleblowers; the protections apply to anyone who meets the above criteria.

(reference:  ASIC official website:  https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/asic-investigations-and-enforcement/whistleblowing/guidance-for-whistleblowers/)