The Herald Sun has a cracker of a yarn today over yet another massive privacy breach in the corrections system, headed: Secret jail source’s cover blown.

secret identity of the state’s first prison whistleblower has been
exposed by the Department of Justice in a damaging bureaucratic
bungle,” the Hun reports.

The Herald Sun has learned the department sent a
letter addressed to the prison officer by name in an envelope that
clearly identified him as a whistleblower. The words “Whistle-blowers
Protection Act 2001. To be opened by the addressee only” were stamped
in red letters on the back of the envelope… Opposition Corrections
spokesman Richard Dalla-Riva said the officer had received a fractured
skull at the hands of a prison officer after raising serious claims of

Better than the fate of some police
informants in Victoria – but a distressing disaster. The government has
responded that the practice of stamping all envelopes relating to the
Whistle-blowers Act is common in government departments, but the
Ombudsman has now advised that envelopes should be marked “Private and
Confidential” and the Whistle-blowers Act reference be stamped on the
letter. Well, d’oh!

How stupid can these bureaucrats be? The
Ombudsman’s response isn’t much better. It turns the matter into an
issue of style and formality. There’s much more involved here.
Whistleblowers are the subject of enormous institutional pressure. Most
end up losing their jobs – and more – despite measures supposed to
protect them. What actually is the bureaucrats goal here in the way
they implement the Act?

The old public service line says when
something goes wrong, it’s more likely to be a cock-up than a
conspiracy. That’s normally true, but this may the one case where the
opposite applies.