Skip to main content
GetUp!
GetUp!

Stop the war on whistleblowers!

It's just been revealed the Morrison Government spent $6 million trying to jail whistleblowers and their lawyers.1

People like Richard Boyle, David McBride, and Bernard Collaery – all of whom remain on trial for speaking out against injustice.

But just by signing a letter, the new Labor Attorney General – Mark Dreyfus – could drop these prosecutions tomorrow. That's why – with just 28 days until one whistleblower's court date – we're ramping up the campaign to ensure he does just that.

Will you join the fight for whistleblowers and sign the petition demanding the Attorney-General acts now?
Picture of a headline tearout that says, coalition government spent $6m prosecuting Bernard Collaery and three other whistleblowers
Whistleblowers — those who expose misconduct and wrongdoing — are essential to public interest journalism and a strong democracy.

But whistleblower protections in Australia are woefully inadequate – where instead of protecting those speaking out, they face severe consequences including jail time. It's not right.

Under the Morrison Government, a culture of secrecy and coverup was accelerated in Australia. Journalists have been raided, national surveillance laws are at an all time high, and whistleblowers face prosecution.

But with a new Attorney-General at the helm, an opportunity to reform whistleblower protections is on the table. Already, Dreyfus has dropped the charges against Collaery.2 But Labor is yet to commit to dropping prosecutions, including against whistleblowers like Richard Boyle or David McBride.

Dropping cases against individual whistleblowers is just the tip of the iceberg. We need real and deep reform to our whistleblower protections, and the Labor Party has a history of supporting the very 'national security' laws that undermine press freedom and the public interest.3 That needs to change – now.

Can you chip to boost this film to audiences who may not know about how inadequate our whistleblower protections are?
Bernard Collaery is a lawyer and former ACT Attorney-General. Until recently, he faced criminal charges in relation to his role as whistleblower Witness K's lawyer, who exposed the alleged bugging of Timor-Leste offices over oil and gas negotiations in the 2000s.4

Collaery's case has been shrouded in an extraordinary level of secrecy, with the prosecutors attempting to try him behind closed doors away from the public eye.5 This has been fiercely fought at every level.

After nearly four years of languishing and fighting for the transparency of his trial, Collaery's prosecution has finally been dropped by the Attorney-General.
Richard Boyle is a former Australian Tax Office employee who became a whistleblower in 2017, when he exposed aggressive and unethical debt recovery measures the ATO were using against small businesses. After trying to raise his concerns internally, Boyle took his concerns public. His actions led to three reviews and policy reform, which corroborated his concerns.6

And yet, Boyle faces criminal charges, facing up to life in prison for exposing this misconduct.

For years, Boyle has been waiting for his trial to begin, resulting in serious personal hardship.7 But with his public interest disclosure defence starting on 25 July, the pressure is on for the Attorney-General to act to drop these unjust charges.

Will you add your name to the petition calling for the state to stop prosecuting Richard Boyle?
David McBride is a former Australian Defence Force lawyer turned whistleblower.

McBride put everything on the line to expose alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. He was the key source behind the ABC's investigation The Afghan Files, reported in 2017.8

McBride's revelations led to an investigation and to the Brereton report — which found evidence of allegations of unlawful killings.9 But despite this, the first person to be charged in relation to these crimes is not the perpetrators – but the man who exposed them in the first place.

On Thursday, McBride pleaded a defence under the PID Act; but his application for immunity from criminal prosecution got denied. He faces the rest of his life in prison. Will you stand in solidarity with David McBride and sign the petition for stronger protections for whistleblowers?
[1] Coalition government spent $6m prosecuting Bernard Collaery and three other whistleblowers, The Guardian, 23 June 2022.
[2] Attorney-General says 'levers' available in Collaery case, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June, 2022. [3] Democracy Dossier, GetUp, Sept 2021.
[4] October trial date set for Bernard Collaery nearly four years after charges laid, The Guardian, 26 May 2022.
[5] Bernard Collaery wins appeal against order to shroud ACT Supreme Court trial in secrecy, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October, 2021.
[6] Prosecutors proceed with case against ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle, The ABC, 29 April 2021.
[7] 'I feel like I almost died': ATO whistleblower breaks silence on facing 161 years in jail, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2019.
[8] Afghanistan war crimes inquiry: Calls to drop prosecution of whistleblower David McBride, The Canberra Time, 14 April 2021.
[9] David McBride's prosecution shows 'insidious' side of national security debate: Professor Peter Greste, The Canberra Times, 14 September 2021.

SIGN FOR WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS

To the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus:

We demand that all current prosecutions against whistleblowers David McBride and Richard Boyle be dropped immediately.

Whistleblower protections must be reformed to protect journalists and their sources.




37,107 signatures

We need 2,893 more


In taking action, I agree to GetUp's Privacy Policy.