Attorney-General Christian Porter has belatedly restored protections for public servant whistleblowers at Australia's corporate watchdog, more than three months after they were accidentally removed.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is one of the key reporting avenues for corporate whistleblowers.
But since the regulator was removed as a statutory agency under the Public Service Act - allowing it more freedom to hire - its own staff have not been protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
The scheme offers public servants who report wrongdoing in their agency certain protections, although has come under fire for being "technical, obtuse and intractable".
But when ASIC ceased to be a statutory agency on July 1 this year under the Public Service Act, those safeguards ceased as well.
Ironically, it happened the same day as more robust protections for corporate whistleblowers came into effect.
"ASIC considers a strong and effective arrangement for handling reports from whistleblowers is a key component of corporate governance. We encourage companies to implement a strategy for dealing with whistleblower reports they may receive in line with the legislative requirements," ASIC Commissioner John Price said at the time.
The legislative instrument, signed on October 4, means from October 12 ASIC staff will once again be covered for reporting wrongdoing in the public service.
Mr Porter described the omission as a "legislative oversight".
"ASIC staff were notified of the oversight and a commitment was made that this would be rectified at the earliest opportunity. That is what this legislative instrument does," Mr Porter said.
"I'm advised that there is no practical impact from the period when ASIC was not covered by the Act as there were no public interest disclosures in that period."
But Labor's public service spokeswoman Katy Gallagher said that wasn't good enough.
"Getting these kinds of legislative functions right is core business of any government, so it's disappointing to find that there has been this stuff up that has potentially left ASIC staff exposed," Senator Gallagher said.
At least one public interest disclosure was made about ASIC to the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2017-18, 2016-17, and 2015-16.
Bodies such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Signals Directorate are still covered by the Public Interest Disclosure Act, even though they are also not as statutory agencies under the Public Service Act.
Meanwhile, ASIC will be hauled before a parliamentary committee next week to explain how it has changed in the wake of the banking royal commission.
Commissioner Kenneth Hayne damned ASIC's "deeply entrenched culture of negotiating outcomes rather than insisting upon public denunciation of, and punishment for, wrongdoing".
The regulator has since adopted a "why not litigate" strategy, which it credited as leading to a 20 per cent spike in the number of enforcement matters underway in June.