Public Interest Disclosure
About Public Interest Disclosure
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) is the legislative scheme applying across the Commonwealth public sector. A PID is the reporting of wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. PIDs relate to conduct which it is believed:
- contravenes a law
- is corrupt
- perverts the course of justice
- results in a wastage of public funds or property
- is an abuse of public trust
- unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment
- is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.
Disclosures are about matters where investigation and correction is in the public interest.
Matters where you disagree with a government or DTA policy, action or expenditure are not disclosable conduct. The proper activities of intelligence agencies, the conduct of members of Parliament and judicial conduct are not covered by the PID Act.
Making a Public Interest Disclosure
Any public official can make a PID. A public official includes:
- any person who is, or was, employed by the Australian Government
- individuals employed by Commonwealth companies, authorities and statutory agencies, Parliamentary services, statutory officeholders
- service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them.
Disclosures can be made:
- by an employee to their supervisor
- to an Authorised Officer
- in very limited circumstances, to a person outside the government provided that are not a foreign official.
DTA prefers to have PIDs made in writing however you can also provide a disclosure in person, by telephone, openly or anonymously.
To contact authorised officers:
- send an email to PIDadvice@dta.gov.au
- write to PO Box 457, Canberra 2600
- or phone People Services on 0428 061 462
Protections offered under the PID Act
If you make a disclosure you will:
- not be subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability for making a disclosure. This protection does not apply unless a designated publication restriction is contravened without reasonable excuse or the disclosure is knowingly false or misleading
- have no contractual or other remedy enforced or sanction imposed on you on the basis of making the disclosure
- have absolute privilege for the purposes of defamation proceedings in respect of the public interest disclosure
- not have a contract to which you are a party terminated on the basis of the disclosure
- have your identity protected
Information Required 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 more information, consult the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.