Jeff Morris Blew The Lid On The Banking Industry -- Now He Gets A Thank You
Jeff Morris is the whistleblower largely responsible for Australia's Royal Banking Commission. Despite his career being blacklisted, family heartache and suffering PTSD, he said speaking out against corruption was worth it.
The former Commonwealth Bank employee went to the media and former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who -- with two other senators -- began a parliamentary inquiry which in turn led to the Banking Royal Commission.
It took a toll on Morris.
"I understood when I went ahead there would be blowback from the bank, there would be consequences," he told 10 daily, the day after the Royal Commission handed down its 'scathing' recommendations.
"When I told my wife I would have to do this, there was deep-seated corruption and innocent people being badly hurt, she said 'so this means you'll lose your job?" And I said 'probably'."
"I did expect they would try and destroy me. I didn't expect the lengths they would go to."
Morris said he received death threats for his role in exposing the scandals around the industry. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a psychiatrist.
"You realise just how ruthless these people are," he said.
"That really shook me. I realised I could have put my family at risk. I started to think how I could protect my family in that situation."
I felt like a boxer lying facedown on the canvas and I'd just been flattened.
READ MORE: Is Being A Whistleblower Worth It?
Morris' intervention in the scandals around the financial sector, where he raised alarms with corporate regulators and mainstream media outlets, led to an outpouring of gratitude in recent days.
His whistleblowing has been cited as a major step in establishing the royal commission.
Dastyari, now retired from parliament, praised Morris' work.
"What he said was so outrageous, no one believed him. Everyone kept saying it just couldn't be true, that he was making it up," the former senator told 10 daily.
"It was just so extraordinary. He came and told politicians and the regulator ASIC, and no one believed him. He was discredited, laughed at, looked at like a disgruntled employee."
Dastyari organised an online crowdfunding campaign over the weekend, hoping to raise a few hundred dollars for Morris. As of the time of writing, more than $4000 had been collected by 100 donors.
"A good human being, who saw standards that he couldn't walk past and ignore. A man whose values I admire. Good on'yer Jeff and thank you," wrote one person.
"Not all heroes wear capes," said another.
"When someone does the right thing at great personal cost, the people who benefit from that should absolutely show gratitude and support that person any way they are able. Jeff, I thank you for your sacrifice. You are an honourable man and a great Australian," added someone else.
Dastyari arrived at Morris' house in Sydney on Tuesday with a huge delivery of roses and a travel voucher for a holiday.
The roses, he said, will be given to a hospital ward.
"He's had a really, really hard time. He lost his job. He's been blacklisted by the banking industry and hasn't been hired since. Whistleblowers, whether it's corporate or for sexual misconduct, never work in the industry again," Dastyari said.
"There were some dark periods where no one believed him and everyone said he was lying... That's kind of when we became friends."
"He sacrificed more than he should have. I wanted to show him how much we appreciate him."