The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (the PID Act) promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector. It creates a framework for facilitating the reporting of suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and requiring agencies to take action.
The purpose of the PID Act is to:
- encourage and facilitate public interest disclosures (PIDs) by public officials
- ensure public officials who make PIDs are supported and protected from adverse consequences
- ensure PIDs by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman administers the PID scheme across all Australian Government entities.
Who can make a disclosure
A person who is a current or former public official can make a PID. This includes:
- public servants (ongoing, non-ongoing and casual)
- parliamentary service employees
- service providers under a Commonwealth contract
- statutory office holders
- staff of Commonwealth companies
- temporary employees engaged through a recruitment agency.
This also includes current and former AFP appointees, non-appointee contractors any other person deemed by the authorised officer to be a public official for the purposes of the PID Act.
Types of PIDs
A PID is a disclosure of information that tends to show, or that the public official reasonably believes tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.
Disclosable conduct is conduct engaged in by an agency, public official or contracted service provider. Types of disclosable conduct include:
- illegal conduct
- perverting the course of justice
- abuse of public trust
- deception relating to scientific research
- wastage of public money
- unreasonable danger to health and safety of persons
- unreasonable danger to the environment.
Disclosures of suspected wrongdoing made before 15 January 2014 are not covered by the PID Act. However, a PID made after 15 January 2014 can include conduct that occurred at any time.
How to make a disclosure
Public officials can report disclosable conduct to:
- an 'authorised officer’ of the AFP (Coordinator or Superintendent) via:
- an 'authorised officer' of either the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) if the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that it would be appropriate for the disclosure to be investigated by these entities, rather than the AFP.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman administers the PID scheme across all Commonwealth Government agencies. Further information can be found on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.