Public Interest Disclosure
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014. The PID Act promotes the integrity and accountability of the Commonwealth public sector. It allows for reporting and investigation of suspected wrongdoing. The PID Act replaced the repealed Whistleblowing provisions under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth).
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth)
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) (PID Act) is the legislative scheme for the reporting and investigation of allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. It:
- removes barriers so that people who work, or previously worked in the public sector, can speak up about serious problems that impact on public administration
- ensures that reports of wrongdoing are properly investigated and dealt with
- provides protection to public officials who report allegations of wrongdoing under the PID Act.
About public interest disclosure
‘Public interest disclosure’ means making a report about wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. This may include conduct which you reasonably believe:
- contravenes a law
- is corrupt
- perverts the course of justice
- results in a wastage of public funds
- is an abuse of public trust
- unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment
- is misconduct relating to scientific research, analysis or advice
- is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.
Disclosures are about matters where investigation and correction is in the public interest. This does not include disagreements with government policy, action or expenditure.
Making a public interest disclosure
Public interest disclosures can be made by a public official. This includes:
- any person who is, or was, employed by the Australian Government
- individuals employed by any Commonwealth companies, authorities and statutory agencies, the Parliamentary service, statutory officeholders
- service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them.
Public interest disclosures can be made orally or in writing:
- by an employee to their supervisor
- to an Authorised Officer
- to email@example.com
- in very limited circumstances, to a person outside the government other than a foreign official.
You can also report anonymously; however:
- we cannot ensure you are protected from reprisal
- it can make further investigation difficult
- it will be impossible to provide you with updates on the progress of the investigation.
Our Authorised Officers
Our Authorised Officers are:
- Director Legal Services
- Director Investigations
Authorised Officers can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How you are protected under the PID Act
If your disclosure is made in accordance with the Act you:
- are immune from civil, criminal or administrative liability
- will have your identity protected
- are protected from reprisals or threatened reprisals, including injury, dismissal or discrimination between you and other employees
- can take action for reinstatement if your employment is terminated because of your disclosure.
Information to give us when making a Public Interest Disclosure
You should provide as much information as possible, including:
- your name and contact details (you can remain anonymous)
- the nature of the wrongdoing
- who committed the wrongdoing
- when and where the wrongdoing occurred
- relevant background information and events
- if anything has been done in response to the wrongdoing
- contact details for anyone else who is aware of the wrongdoing and has allowed it to continue
- whether you believe the information is a public interest disclosure under the PID Act, however it does not need to be described this way for it to be treated as a public interest disclosure
- if you are concerned about possible reprisal as a result of making a disclosure.
For further information about the PID Act, consult the Commonwealth Ombudsman website