There's little high moral ground between the two major parties when it comes to whistleblowing. What protections exist for public service whistleblowing -- and they are quite limited -- are mainly thanks to shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, who has pursued protection of public sector whistleblowers since he was a backbencher and, as attorney-general, passed the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

But apart from Dreyfus' important contribution, Labor has a decidedly mixed record. It was Julia Gillard who falsely accused Julian Assange of breaking the law in relation to the Chelsea Manning cables, only to be corrected by the Australian Federal Police. Gillard and Bob Carr, as foreign minister, declined to provide any support for Assange and specifically denied he was the target of a US investigation into his publishing activities. It was Dreyfus himself who has refused to accept that Edward Snowden is a whistleblower, despite Snowden revealing illegal activities by the NSA, being described as a whistleblower by Republican politicians in the United States, and even former US Attorney-General Eric Holder, who led Barack Obama's war on whistleblowers, admitting Snowden had sparked a "useful debate" that had led to "appropriate" legislative changes. And Labor refused to pardon one of Australia's most important whistleblowers, Allan Kessing, whose revelation of security failures at airports led to a significant security upgrade.