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Business School law expert to advise Turnbull Government on whistleblower protection

29 Sep 2017

An expert in business law at the University of Sydney Business School has been appointed to a high powered panel which will advise the Federal Government on protection for “whistleblowers” in the private, public and not for profit sectors.

The appointment of Associate Professor David Chaikin was announced by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer.

Before joining the Business School, Associate Professor Chaikin was a practising lawyer specialising in multi jurisdictional investigations, transnational commercial and criminal litigation, and offshore corporate and banking law.

He also held senior Government roles and worked as a consultant to the United Nations, the OECD-based Financial Action Task Force, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The panel of four also includes Professor A. J. Brown from Queensland’s Griffith University, Michael Croker who is the Head of Tax at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) and John Nguyen, a partner at Deloitte Australia.

Ms O’Dwyer said the appointment of the panel was in keeping with the Government's commitment to provide meaningful protection to people who report corporate fraud, serious misconduct or tax evasion or avoidance.

“The Turnbull Government is determined to get the whistleblower settings right,” the Minister said. “We need a strong legal framework that gives whistleblowers the confidence to make disclosures (and) encourages larger companies to develop whistleblower policies and internal frameworks.”

She went on to say that the Government wanted to provide “effective redress to those who suffer reprisals as a result of blowing the whistle; and enables regulators and law enforcement agencies to act quickly and decisively upon whistleblower reports”.

The panel’s terms of reference require it to advise on whistleblower protections for people who disclose information about tax avoidance and other breaches of tax laws administered by the Commissioner of Taxation.

And, to provide advice on ways of strengthens existing corporate whistleblower protections under statutes administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority.

Associate Professor Chaikin described his appoint as “a privilege and wonderful opportunity to contribute to a significant government initiative”. “Legislative reforms should provide effective protection for whistleblowers, enhance law enforcement and tax collection outcomes, and improve governance in our institutions, both in the public and private sectors,” he concluded.