How I blow the whistle

Petros K

When a concerned member of the public approaches me with allegations, usually its about a matter of public interest. I never knew why they contacted me in the first instance, but a few years into this, I now know. I’ll explain this later. The first gauge I have to test the allegation is my gut instinct. After this, on all occasions I take the time to investigate their concerns even if its just for the purpose of giving the concerned member of the public a better understanding of the situation. Usually this involves removing the emotion from their problem. I’ve learnt that more often, the allegations are merely a misunderstanding of the fact. However, sometimes information or evidence is presented to me in a tested state and the motives of the wrong doers and individuals involved are blatantly obvious. I’m really good mates with Blind Freddie too.

The biggest challenge I then have to overcome is trying to determine what is the correct process versus what has been alleged. This also involves finding the person who is accountable which isn’t necessarily the same person who is responsible. This is where it gets really complicated and often words like transparency, natural justice and procedural fairness are nothing more than words. They have no substance, especially when senior public servants are potentially implicated. In my mind, the law makers are the biggest law breakers. For example, how is the former Minister for Immigration who is the legal guardian of refugee children, not before a court for gross negligence.

Just when you think it can’t get harder, it does. Trying asking the government for information that could potentially implicate them. Sometimes I have to use a pseudonym because word is getting around in Government departments and agencies about my newest hobby. I’ve reached a point where it’s impossible to get a straight answer and this is where insiders that are like minded and hold the interest of the public first, anonymously leak the information to me. On that note, I should do a special shout out to all my friends in the Department of Transport and Department of Education who refuse to take my calls. Just because you’re ignoring me doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you! There are many ways to skin a cat. Meow!

Now I know I’m no Assange or Snowden, but sometimes the ripple effect from blowing the whistle turns into a tsunami and kayaking to a remote island becomes very appealing. One thing I’ve learnt is the baddies are lazy. Being adventurous is my advantage.

I’ve recently had a member of the public provide me with some serious allegations about an organisation who receives a considerable amount of State and Commonwealth government funding. Remember earlier in this piece I wrote “I never knew why they contacted me in the first instance, but a few years into this, I now know.” Well, it’s because you really can’t trust anyone in Government, not even the Police. Even in our great country where the separation of powers exist and the King can’t be above the law, the reality is you need a lot of money to fight something in the judiciary and most Politicians and Public Servants have forgotten who they work for and if they don’t like the law, they’ll just change it.

Here’s the reality… YOU AND ME can make a difference. The people of Melbourne did it to stop Operation Fortitude. Power to the people is possible.

The above aside, I’m stuck at cross roads with my current matter. Whatever I do, the outcome will be the same. Blowing the whilst could potentially stop vulnerable women and children from receiving a service they desperately need. Not blowing the whistle will ensure women and children who desperately need the service will continue not receiving it. Until then, the organisation in question will continue receiving funding to further feather its own nest at the expense of you and me. Women and children remain at risk.

The purpose of this post is this. If you think you can help, please contact me especially if you’re a retired Federal Court Judge.

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