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Richard Boyle appeal fails. Another deep blow for whistlebower protections.

by Rex Patrick | Jun 19, 2024 | Government, Latest Posts

In a unanimous judgment, the South Australian Court of Appeal has stripped ATO Whistleblower Richard Boyle of immunity from prosecution. Rex Patrick reports from the Court.

The court has effectively declared that Australia’s Federal whistleblower protection laws are completely broken.

Richard Boyle blew the whistle on the ATO’s egregious use of garnishee powers to strip funds from small business bank accounts. The powers were supposed to be used only as a measure of last resort, but the ATO was using them as a measure of first resort to meet their leader’s tax collection key performance indicators.

Richard blew the whistle only to be prosecuted for breaking laws during the preparation of his public interest disclosure.

It’s akin to someone jay-walking to save a child on the other side of the road, and then being prosecuted for jay-walking.

Richard mounted and lost an immunity argument in the SA District Court. He appealed that loss to the SA Court of Appeal. The Court dismissed his appeal. The judgment reasons have been temporarily suppressed to allow Richard’s legal team to ensure nothing in the judgment will prejudice his criminal case, which will now recommence in the SA District Court.

Court crushes whistleblower protection in Richard Boyle, Tax Office case

The dismissal is not an indictment on Richard Boyle but rather on the poor state of our whistleblower laws.

The Albanese Government has acknowledged that the Public Interest Disclosure Act is flawed, but it is content with Richard being persecuted because of those broken laws.

The judgement comes just a month after war crimes whistleblower David McBride was marched off the jail for calling out the truth about Army misconduct in Afghanistan.

Afghan war crimes whistleblower David McBride sentenced to prison

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has the power to drop Richard Boyle’s prosecution with the stroke of a pen but has declined to do so. He seems happy for Richard to unfairly face the music. He seems happy to send the message to everyone – “don’t blow the whistle”.

Dreyfus has failed to exercise his powers to drop Richard’s prosecution. Dreyfus has failed to strengthen our whistleblower protection laws. Dreyfus has failed in setting up a Whistleblower Protection Authority.

Dreyfus is failing our democracy.

Lendlease whistleblower and lawyer Tony Watson – the law is failing to protect whistleblowers

Rex Patrick is a former Senator for South Australia and earlier a submariner in the armed forces. Best known as an anti-corruption and transparency crusader -

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