Act valuable legislation for free society, freedom of information: Barker


INSTITUTE of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker has welcomed the new Whistleblower law passed in Parliament yesterday, saying it is a valuable legislation.
He told The National yesterday that it was “a very valuable piece of legislation for a free society, complementing the rights to freedom of information, which is embraced in the Constitution”.
“It is expected to be complemented by specific legislation during the next months,” he said.
He thanked the Government for “advancing this legislation to Parliament and driving it through”.
“This provides legal protection to employees and other observers to expose corrupt and other malpractices within Government and private sector organisations,” he said.
He said authorities or businesses would “no longer hide or intimidate staff from exposing wrongdoings”.
“The legislation also complements the planned introduction of the ICAC Bill, which will be a further major piece of the armoury needed to tackle corruption in PNG, if it’s given adequate independence, authority and resources,” he said.
“Whistleblowing requires courage, even with the protection of the law, as it can entail exposing wrongdoing by one’s own bosses and powerful people.
“Tackling abuse, whether its tax dodging, noncompliance, falsification of standards in construction or food products, malpractice in licensing or election processes requires commitment and public support, as well as legal protection.
“It needs public awareness and practical mechanisms for safe reporting within organisations and to authorities.”