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Gareth Austin

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Gareth Austin is an associate in Baker McKenzie’s Dispute Resolution practice group in Sydney. He joined the Firm as a Summer Clerk in 2014 and commenced his current role in 2017. Prior to this, Gareth had experience in construction and other commercial practice areas.

The federal election is slated for 21 May 2022 and it is important to be aware of your obligations when it comes to political donations to ensure you are compliant with any disclosure requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 19189 (Cth) (“Electoral Act”).
Not only do offences under the Electoral Act carry fines but non-compliance with political donations laws can lead to significant reputational risk in an area that frequently makes headlines.
This federal election is also the first since reforms in December 2021 tightened the laws relating to political donations in relation to foreign donors.

The privilege against self-incrimination has long been a feature of Australia’s common law and recognises the important concept that individuals should not be compelled to incriminate themselves. The privilege has also been protected by legislation, including in sections 128 & 128A of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth). A recent High Court decision in Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Zu Neng Shi [2021] HCA 22 considered whether disclosure of privileged information was in the interests of justice.

ASIC has released a new immunity policy setting out the process and conditions for whistleblowers to obtain immunity from certain civil penalty or criminal proceedings (Immunity Policy). The Immunity Policy extends the types of protection available to a whistleblower beyond those which became available under the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (Cth) (Whistleblowing Legislation) which came into force in 2019. As a result there is an increased risk that employees may elect to go direct to ASIC rather than raising an issue internally.

Australia moves a step closer to new corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent bribery of foreign public officials by “associates.” Do you know who your associates are and what they are doing? The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee has published its report recommending that the Crimes Legislation Amendment…

ASIC has issued its final guidance on the content of whistleblowing policies. ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 270 ‘Whistleblower Policies’ sets out what information policies should contain in order for companies to be compliant with their obligations under the new Australian whistleblowing regime. You can read more about the new whistleblowing regime…