Aug 8, 2014

Frances Abbott leak reveals legal blackhole for whistleblowers

Experts say the case against the alleged whistleblower in "Daughtergate" is a good example of why comprehensive whistleblower protection is a very important issue for Australia.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

A 20-year-old university student faces up to two years in jail for allegedly accessing confidential computer records of 500 students at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, a private design school that’s been in the media spotlight lately for allegedly giving Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances a secret scholarship.

UTS student and former Whitehouse librarian Freya Newman is accused of breaching Section 308H of the NSW Crimes Act, which bans “unauthorised access to or modification of restricted data held in a computer”. It’s not clear whether Newman was the leaker who outed Frances Abbott’s scholarship to the media. In June, New Matilda, as well as The Guardian, revealed the Prime Minister’s daughter had received a $60,000 scholarship to study at the institute. The scholarship was kept secret from Frances Abbott’s teachers and fellow students, had only been given once before, and was allegedly offered after only one meeting between Frances Abbott and the institute’s founder and managing director, Leanne Whitehouse.

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10 thoughts on “Frances Abbott leak reveals legal blackhole for whistleblowers

  1. JohnB

    Where do I donate towards her defense?

  2. Simon

    Knowledge of a private education institute giving a free education to the daughter of the Prime Minister whose policies directly benefit the private education industry can only be in the public interest.

  3. Dogs breakfast

    Isn’t it great to see the powers of the public service used to prosecute a person barely of adult age, a student at that, on the basis that she may or may not have revealed something of clear public interest, of privilege begetting privilege.

    Lord knows, those police and other public servants don’t have more pressing issues to attend to.

    Great work, we can all sleep o’nights now.

  4. klewso

    One of “Abbott’s terrorists”?

  5. Frances Hanks

    I am with JohnB, looking for how to help fund her defence.

  6. Barbara Bradshaw

    How can we support her defence?

  7. AR

    I’m very surprised that Prof AJ Brown was advising on the weak as piss PID Act – or that he would like it to be widely know.
    It only acquired a slight value over & above the ink & paper cost because of the amendment of the Greens & Xenophon, though only one approved of the three proffered

  8. Myriam Robin

    To those who’ve asked about funding her defense, I don’t think she’s appointed a lawyer yet. I’m sure all will be clearer in a few days.

  9. Steve777

    Just imagine if a child of a Labor PM received a gift of $60,000 from a big Labor Party donor who headed an institution that stood to benefit greatly from a change of Government policy. The Murdoch media would go ballistic. The whistleblower would have powerful protectors.

  10. Rena Zurawel

    Megaspying on the voters is OK?
    Spying on the government is a crime?

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