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Whistleblower Appeals Court Decision to Deny Him Protection.

ATO Whistleblower, Richard Boyle claims a judge was wrong to deny him whistleblower protections, and says Australia’s laws should have shielded him from alleged acts made in preparation to expose the conduct of the Australian Taxation Office, court documents show.

Boyle has lodged an appeal against a key decision in the South Australian district court, denying him the protections of the nation’s Public Interest Disclosure Act, which left him facing criminal trial on 24 charges – including the alleged use of his mobile phone to take photographs of taxpayer information and covertly record conversations with colleagues.

Boyle’s case was the first proper test of the whistleblower protections and was widely seen as crucial in understanding the flaws and weaknesses in the current regime, which Labor has proposed reforming.

The court ruled that Boyle could not be protected for allegedly unlawful acts while gathering evidence to prepare to blow the whistle about the ATO’s unethical and aggressive pursuit of debts. Boyle, an ATO worker based in Adelaide, made disclosures internally at first, then to the inspector general of taxation, and, ultimately, to Fairfax Media and ABC Four Corners.

(First Published in Guardian Australia 19 May 2023. Christopher Knaus, author)

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