Whistleblowers to receive cash rewards under Australian Opposition plan

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-03 15:11:14|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has revealed its plan to reward corporate whistleblowers with cash rewards.

Bill Shorten, leader of the ALP, announced his plan to introduce the reward scheme on Sunday, vowing to increase protections for public and private sector employees who lift the lid on unethical behavior and corporate crime if his party is victorious in May's general election.

Under the plan, which would see whisteblowers paid a percentage of the final penalty imposed by the court, lawyers and accountants who report clients would also be eligible for rewards.

The ALP has already announced plans for a similar scheme for tax whistleblowers. Under that plan, whistleblowers who turn in tax avoiders would receive a maximum of 250,000 Australian dollars (181,283 U.S. dollars) or 1 percent of the court-imposed penalty.

"If you saw someone stealing from a store you would say something," Shorten told News Corp Australia on Sunday.

"That's what tax dodging and corporate fraud is it's stealing. But too many people see it and say nothing," Shorten said.

"I'm saying to accountants and lawyers and others who see this happening, don't let these crooks get away with it," Shorten said.

If elected, Shorten promised to establish a new position within the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman to hear reports from, and provide advice to, corporate whistleblowers.

He made the announcement one day before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry's final report was set to be made public on Monday.

Jeff Morris, a whistleblower who exposed corrupt conduct at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and whose revelations were key in establishing the royal commission, threw his support behind Shorten's plan.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say we wouldn't have this royal commission if not for whistleblowers," he said.

"It would virtually guarantee that more people would come forward," he said.