From time-to-time people wish to disclose information to us that they have obtained in the course of employment or in business. This information commonly relates to allegations of misconduct or unethical conduct in business that affects consumers, and may be provided with the intention that Consumer Action will use this information.
This purpose of this policy is to provide transparency as to how Consumer Action will treat information received from external whistleblowers. This information is distinct and different from Consumer Action’s general policy of internal whistleblowing (contact us to find out more).
Consumer Action and its staff will not seek out or invite information from external whistleblowers. If information is offered or provided, Consumer Action will follow the steps outlined in this policy:
- We will remind anyone providing such information to ensure that they are not breaching any contractual or other obligations by providing information to us.
- We will ensure that we are not breaching any obligations by receiving the proposed information.
- We will inform such persons that they will not become our client by providing information to us.
- We will inform such persons that information provided to us will not necessarily be kept confidential and may be used in our advocacy or casework.
- We will inform such persons that we may not be able to guarantee their anonymity (for example, we may subpoena the person to give evidence as part of our casework).
- We will inform such persons that in some circumstances they may be able to provide information to journalists or regulators, which may provide greater protections regarding anonymity.
Should after following the above steps, information is provided to Consumer Action, it may be used to advance the centre’s interests.
The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides protections for whistleblowers providing information to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC has released Information Sheet 238 which provides further information.