Tuesday 27 September, 2016

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:29): I rise today to speak to the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2016. I also note that I will not be the lead speaker. I anticipate that that would be the member for Bragg.

Obviously, this is a bill that aims to encourage and facilitate the disclosure of much material in the public interest by making sure that there are certain procedures in place not only for making but for also dealing with these kinds of disclosures, and also by providing protection for people who make such disclosures. It also makes related amendments to several acts, such as the Local Government Act 1999 and the Public Sector Act 2009, and repeals the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993.

This is an area of the law that the opposition has certainly been vocal about for an extended period of time. It is a very important area. A short time ago, on this side of the chamber we sought to have this kind of legislation implemented. We have wanted for some time to look at the offence of victimisation and also at the disclosure rules that concern journalists as well. We were advised recently that it was likely that the government would progress its own bill in this area, and here we are with the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2016, which has been introduced by the Attorney.

From what we can see, the bill the Attorney has put forward incorporates several recommendations of Commissioner Lander's 2014 report. However, it does not appear to include, as we would have liked, the right to disclose a matter in the public interest to a journalist if there has been failure to investigate it within a certain period of time. So, I anticipate that, whilst the bill may be supported, we may look to move an amendment down the track, but otherwise I support the bill.