What is the Public Interest Disclosure Act?
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014, repealing the Whistleblowing provisions under the Public Service Act 1999.
The PID Act promotes integrity and accountability across the Australian public sector by:
- Encouraging people to disclose information about wrongdoing in the public sector;
- Ensuring that people who disclose information are supported and protected from any reprisal or detrimental action; and
- Ensuring that agencies properly investigate and deal with disclosed information about wrongdoing.
Wrongdoing which can be disclosed under the PID Act includes, but is not limited to, that which:
- 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; or
- is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent
Disagreements with government policy or expenditure are not disclosable conduct under the PID Act.
How to Make A Public Interest Disclosure
Public interest disclosures can be made by any public official, including:
- 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; and
- service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them
The ABS has developed a form to facilitate the reporting of a disclosure under the PID Act. The form requests only the necessary information to provide when making a public interest disclosure.
PID Act - disclosure of information form.pdf
While the ABS encourages the use of this form, public interest disclosures can also be made orally or in writing. Public interest disclosures can be made:
- by a current employee to their supervisor;
- by a current or former public official to an Authorised Officer; or
- in very limited circumstances, by a current or former public official to a person outside the government other than a foreign official.
All public interest disclosures should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
which can only be accessed by an Authorised Officer.
Personal information in this form will be used for the purpose of the PID Act.
Where appropriate, and with your consent, your personal information may be provided for the purposes of the PID Act to the Australian Statistician, Authorised Officers, Officers investigating the reported conduct, and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
You can remain anonymous, or use a pseudonym, however:
- the ABS has the discretion not to investigate if you cannot be contacted for further information.
- the ABS may not be able to notify you about the handling of your disclosure.
ABS Authorised Officers
In the ABS, Authorised Officers include:
- Program Manager, Education, Crime and Culture
- Director, Policy and Legislation
Authorised officers can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Protections offered under the Public Interest Disclosure Act
By making a public interest disclosure, the ABS will ensure you are subject to the following protections, where applicable:
- your identity will be protected (unless you provide written consent to disclose details of your identity to other ABS staff for the purposes of the PID Act)
- in the making a disclosure you will have immunity from any civil, criminal and administrative liability (including disciplinary action), except where your disclosure is knowing false or misleading or where you are involved in the wrongdoing
- where there is a risk of reprisal action being taken against you, the ABS will take all steps that are reasonable to protect you from this action
For more information, consult the ABS Authorised Officers or the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.