Whistleblowing, Ethics and Corporate Culture: Theory and Practice in Australia
(2011) 40 (2) Common Law World Review 144 to 173
Posted: 26 May 2012
Date Written: May 25, 2012
Recent instability in the global financial markets has highlighted the need for companies to remain vigilant in detecting fraud and other forms of misconduct. Encouraging whistleblowing by persons who have knowledge of corporate misconduct or fraud is important. Legislative provisions protecting whistleblowers and the integration of whistleblower programmes within a company’s corporate governance framework are two strategies that may encourage whistleblowing. Legislative provisions protecting whistleblowers were introduced into the Australian Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) in 2004. In 2007 the revised Australian Stock Exchange Principles recommended that listed corporations establish a code of conduct, and suggested that the code imbed within it reference to the way in which whistleblower disclosures are handled. While there have been various studies investigating whistleblowing programmes in the public sector, prior to this study there was virtually no empirical research into corporate sector whistleblowing in Australia. This paper examines the findings of an empirical study into the use of the whistleblowing protection provisions contained in the Australian Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the adoption of whistleblowing programmes as recommended by the Australian Stock Exchange Principles by Australia’s leading 200 listed companies.
Keywords: corporate governance, whistleblower programmes, codes of conduct, corporate enforcement
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