A summary of ME’s Speak Up Policy, also referred to as a whistleblower policy.

Our commitment.

The purpose of the Speak Up Policy is to encourage and support all current and former employees, contractors, consultants, brokers secondees, directors, third party supplier employees, as well as the relatives or dependents of these individuals (“ME People”), to report suspected or actual misconduct, as well as unlawful activity.

A person who reports this type of misconduct, under the Speak Up Policy, is known as a whistleblower. The whistleblower laws and principles are set out in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth)​.

ME is committed to providing a supportive environment where suspected or actual misconduct such as unethical, illegal, corrupt or other inappropriate conduct (including when the disclosure is in the public’s interest or an emergency situation) can be raised in the knowledge that action will be taken without fear of retribution.

What is Reportable Conduct?

ME People are encouraged to raise concerns regarding suspected or actual inappropriate conduct, activities or behaviours in the past, present or that are likely to occur in the future. “Reportable Conduct” involves or includes:

  • Dishonest
  • Fraudulent
  • Illegal activities (including theft, drug sale/use, violence, threatened violence, or criminal damage against ME’s assets/property)
  • Corruption
  • Bribery
  • Misleading or unethical behaviour
  • Abuse of authority
  • Business behaviour and practices that may cause consumer harm
  • Wilful breaching of legislation or internal policies
  • Inappropriate conduct e.g. dishonest altering of company records or data; unauthorised disclosure of confidential information
  • Questionable accounting or auditing practices
  • Unsafe work practices and public health risks
  • Victimisation, harassment or bullying
  • Non-adherence to ME’s values
  • Engaging in or threatening to engage in detrimental conduct against a person who has made a disclosure or is believed or suspected to have made, or may be planning to make, a disclosure.
  • Any other kind of serious impropriety

Note: General employment grievances or complaints that are not connected to Reportable Conduct, such as interpersonal conflicts, transfer or promotion decisions and disciplinary decisions are not within the scope of this Policy.

Can I remain anonymous?

ME provides trusted internal and external channels for those who want to Speak Up, including the option to raise a concern anonymously. ​There are mechanisms in place to protect anonymity which include that any reporter can use a pseudonym.

All Speak Up reports will be treated as strictly confidential, and anyone wishing to make an anonymous disclosure can do so using ME’s​ Speak Up Online Reporting Tool.

When making an anonymous disclosure there is a need to provide sufficient information as ME will not be able to follow up for further details, nor will we be able to tell the person who reports the disclosure of the outcome.

Providing adequate, relevant and specific information such as dates, places, persons/witnesses, activities, documents or evidence, etc. will enable ME to conduct a thorough investigation.

How do I make a disclosure?

There are several ways you can lodge a disclosure. If you feel uncomfortable using the internal channel described, or would prefer to make an anonymous disclosure you can use the online reporting tool.

1. Through ME’s Speak Up Online Reporting Tool, administered by an external 3rd party.

Note: This online reporting tool enables reports to be anonymous. If you wish to report anonymously, read the guidelines provided within the form.

2. To a ME Speak Up Officer or to a person eligible to receive a protected disclosure/report which includes ME Executives, the Company Secretary, any member of the Internal Audit team or member of the Board.

False reporting

A person who speaks up should do so honestly and with the genuine belief that the Reportable Conduct has occurred.

Reporting to a regulator or other body.

Reports of Reportable Conduct may be made to a regulator (such as ASIC or APRA). In limited circumstances where an individual has reasonable grounds to believe ME has not acted in the best interests of the public, or they believe there is substantial or imminent danger to a person, or the environment, they can make the disclosure to a Member of Parliament or the media, once they have advised ME of their intent to do so.

Protection and support.

Protection of your identity and confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is crucial to ensure people will come forward and share their knowledge or suspicions of misconduct without fear of reprisal. ME is committed to protecting the identity of a person who reports a disclosure.

The details of persons who participate or assist with an investigation will also be as treated as strictly confidential and there are a limited number of people who have access to the information.

Confidentiality will also be maintained if a person makes a Reportable Conduct disclosure to an independent legal practitioner in order to seek legal advice, or representation.

Information received from the report or investigation that could lead to identification will be treated as strictly confidential and will not be shared without prior consent, unless we are required to do so by law, or when we consider it appropriate to make a disclosure to a regulator, i.e. satisfy our regulatory reporting obligations.

Protections may not be extended to a person who speaks up where they have been involved in Reportable Conduct.

Fairness

In accordance with applicable law, ME will take all reasonable steps to protect a person from detrimental conduct and ensure they receive fair treatment. ME has zero tolerance for retaliation or the threat of retaliation against a person who Speaks Up. This includes protection from retaliation such as dismissal, performance management, discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation, victimisation or any personal disadvantage.

If a person who has made a disclosure under the Speak Up Policy believes they are at risk of retaliation they should speak to a Speak Up Officer who can take appropriate action.

Employee Assistance Program

If a current employee requires support or assistance they can access ME’s Employee Assistance Program, but may also request additional support if required. While the same level of support may not be available to others who Speak Up, ME will respond to any reasonable request for support.

The investigation.

ME has nominated Speak Up Officers who are tasked with ensuring the identity of the person making the disclosure is respected and protected appropriately throughout the handling, investigation and reporting of the incident. The preliminary review and investigations must be performed by an individual who can carry out the required duties without a conflict of interest.

ME is committed to undertaking a thorough, fair and objective investigation, in accordance with applicable legislation with a view to determining whether a report is substantiated and rectifying any wrongdoing uncovered, to the extent that it is possible.

Unless the person lodging the report decided to remain anonymous, where appropriate, ME will keep them informed of the findings and final outcome.

Reporting and Governance.

ME must maintain accurate and complete records of reported disclosures, and records must be retained in a secure manner for at least 7 years.

Where appropriate and able, the person who made the report may be informed of the findings but will not receive a copy of the investigation and findings report.

All substantiated material outcomes will be reported immediately to the relevant Committee and the Board (as appropriate). These reports will be made on a ‘no names’ basis, to maintain confidentiality.

ME will prepare annual reports on the number and type of Speak Up reports received to the relevant Committee/s and the Board.

ME’s Speak Up Policy is regularly reviewed and endorsed by the Board and the Executive Team.

The policy was last updated on March 2020.


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