A whistleblower facing a string of charges after exposing debt collection tactics within the Australian Taxation Office has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help "level the playing field" and fund his defence.
Richard Boyle is trying to raise $325,000 after recently indicating he intends to plead not guilty to 66 offences including using a listening device and disclosing protected information.
"This is the first major test case for whistleblower protection laws for federal public servants and could be a very important case setting legal precedent," Mr Boyle said on his fundraising page.
By Monday afternoon he had raised about $3150.
Mr Boyle said while his wife had been supporting him since 2018, "we aren't famous, rich or powerful".
"We are just ordinary people fighting for what we believe is right," he said.
"The ATO and the Australian government have significant resources at their disposal.
"I am asking for your support to access expert legal representation to level the playing field."
Mr Boyle took part in a joint ABC-Fairfax 2018 investigation to reveal ATO staff had been instructed to use harsher debt collection tactics on indebted individuals and small businesses.
Those tactics included the use of orders that require a bank to hand over money from a personal or business account without the permission of the taxpayer.
Mr Boyle's Adelaide home was raided by the ATO and Australian Federal Police in April last year when his mobile phone and documents were seized.
At an appearance in Adelaide Magistrates Court in June his counsel said he intended to plead not guilty to all the charges.
In his fundraising campaign, Mr Boyle said he believed the ATO's tactics could be "catastrophic" for small and family businesses.
"I knew this had the potential to cause everyday people unimaginable stress, destroy lives and break up families," he said.
Australian Associated Press