We tend to associate public
service whistleblowing with issues like the Iraq war and people like
Andrew Wilkie. But it can be much more fundamental to our lives than
that.

Griffith University is conducting a three year project titled “Whistling while they work: enhancing the theory and practice of internal witness management in public sector organisations.”
It’s funded by the Australian Research Council and involves five other
universities and 14 industry partners – and tomorrow it’s holding a
symposium on whistleblowing in Canberra.

The day-long event will
look at the keys to effective management and protection of internal
witnesses. It calls them “perhaps the single most important method for
identifying and rectifying wrongdoing, defective administration,
performance problems and ethical concerns within organisations.”

The
symposium will bring together leading national and international
speakers to help examine the current state, and future potential, of
more systematic approaches to internal witness management in today’s
organisations. Participants include Commonwealth Ombudsman Professor
John McMillan, Public Service Commissioner Lynelle Briggs, Allan Fels,
now Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, Peter
Bennett from Whistleblowers Australia and former royal commissioner
Frank Costigan on “Would we need whistleblowing if we had open
government?”

Bundaberg Hospital, anyone?

Peter Fray

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