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Whistleblowing Women

Australian women who blow the whistle on corruption in their workplaces.

Are you thinking of blowing the whistle?

Here are a few basic tips for women who are thinking of 'blowing the whistle' about something that is going on at their workplace -

Start a diary, describing what you observe.

Sign and date each entry.

Start collecting documentary evidence. You need a lot of documentary evidence.

Read Dr Brian Martin's website, especially the old copies of The Whistle. That will give you an idea of what is likely to happen when you blow the whistle on the corruption.

Do not talk about your concerns. If the word gets out that you are thinking of blowing the whistle - and it will - the 'payback process' will begin.

Get another job.

When you are safely settled in your next job, contact me [email protected]

or Cynthia Kardell, the president of Whistleblowers Australia on 02 9484 6895

Do not underestimate how stressful whistleblowing is - or how many years of your life it will consume.

What you are doing is 'the right thing' - but unfortunately our society does not seem to value people who 'do the right thing'.

Consider your decision to whistleblow carefully and make a decision that is right for you.

Robina Cosser asks : What do whistleblowing women learn when they whistleblow?

Sharan Rai Photography

Whistleblowing Women learn that -

Government departments do not care about the safety and welfare of individual employees.

The official departmental policies - including the whistleblowing policy - may be the opposite of the real practices.

If you disclose corruption to your supervisor, you may find that no action, or inappropriate action, is taken on your disclosure.

Your disclosure may simply be 'lost'.

And you will be in great danger of being 'paidback'.

For example, a teacher who discloses child abuse by another teacher may be accused of child abuse themselves.

When you alert senior officers to a problem at work (whistleblow), it is important to 'claim whistleblower status' - or you will be told that your behaviour (in trying to alert the authorities to a problem) is 'a breach of their Code of Conduct and Values'.

You may be "Performance Managed".

If you are "Performance Managed", your career will be ruined.

The stress of the abuse will make you ill.

It may cause you to make real mistakes.

And you will be publicly shamed - either by the real mistakes you make under stress or by the untruthful stories that will be concocted concerning you.

You will be forced into ill health retirement.

Forcing you into ill health retirement seems to be the real policy.

Your union may advise you to 'accept the things you cannot change'.

Public service departments may tell you that your disclosure is not their responsibility. They may advise you to tell another department. And that department will tell you to tell another department.

This 'public service run-around' seems to be a strategy to wear whistleblowers out / exhaust their time-lines / gain time to falsify the official records / drown whistleblowers in paperwork / force whistleblowers to give up.

You may conclude that the prime function of 'Ethical Standards Units' seems to be to do everything possible to protect government ministers, Directors-General and senior public servants from political embarrassment.

If you try to contact the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( now called the CCC ), the CMC may not respond.

The CMC seem to be highly skilled in being useless.

It has been suggested that, during the years of the Queensland Labor Government the CMC became a coven of Labor lawyers.

The CMC will almost certainly send your disclosure back to your Public Service department.

Your department will ask the person whose behaviour you have reported to investigate themselves.

The person whose behaviour you reported will find no evidence of their own corruption / incompetence.

Your real allegations will not be investigated.

The person whose behaviour you have reported will choose the allegations that they want to have investigated. 

You have a responsibility to report misconduct.

And you must have evidence to support your allegations.

But if you try to collect evidence of misconduct, you may be accused of being a 'malcontent' who is 'relentlessly harvesting stories of wrongdoing'.

You may feel / experience a lot of pressure not to disclose corruption.

You will struggle with the conflict between your loyalty to your workmates, your supervisors, your department, your union, the Labor party and your responsibility to the children / patients / members of the public you are supposed to protect from corruption.

Disclosing corruption may be against your Departmental Code of Conduct.

You may be subjected to disciplinary action for disclosing the corruption.

The stress of the dysfunctional Departmental processes may destroy your health.

You may be driven out of work.

You will have little support.

You will be deliberately isolated.

The isolation may make you ill.

You may believe that you are doing your duty by disclosing corruption - but your supervisors, and possibly your fellow workers, may think that you are the one who has done something wrong.

You will suffer financially.

You will be too poor to get good legal advice. The Department will have a bottomless pit of public money to fight you in court.

You will be run out of money and will have to give up your legal battle.

You will be bankrupt and will spend the rest of your life living in a caravan.

That's the process.

Senior public servants can hide their negligence / incompetence / corruption behind a veil of 'confidentiality'.

The official records of your disclosure may be falsified or 'lost'.

Right to Information documents may be refused to you / released to you but blacked out / released to you but 'fudged up' so that they cannot be read.

You may be threatened with defamation action / disciplinary action.

Ministers may simply chant soothing mantras and deny that there is a problem - so they don't have to deal with the incompetence / corruption.

Public servants do not feel a need to change their practices because they know that there will be no consequences for their negligence / incompetence / corruption.

On the contrary - incompetent / corrupt public servants seem to be promoted and given awards.

Rob Messenger, Member for Burnett, supported whistleblowers.

Dr Bruce Flegg , Member for Moggill, has spoken up about the bullying of whistleblower teachers in Queensland.

Ros Bates, Member for Mudgeeraba, encouraged whistleblowing Queensland nurses to contact her.

Most other Local Members seem to do very little to support people who disclose corruption.

A simple way to whistleblow (when you are safely settled in a new job) is to email your disclosure to a member of the oppositon and ask them to table it in parliament.

You can contact CRIKEY :

Your angry mother / father / husband / brother/ sister / auntie can go to the media and complain about your treatment - there is no Code of Conduct that can control your mum.

You can set up a website.

You can make a video and put it on YouTube.

If you decide to hand a disclosure to the CMC, hold a media conference and announce that you are making a disclosure to the CMC. Then continue to talk to reporters each day, giving each reporter more details of the situation, so that your story remains in the news. Do not allow your disclosure to be 'lost'.