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The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) underpins the Australian Government’s Public interest disclosure (PID) scheme. Public officials can use the PID scheme to report suspected wrongdoing in the Australian public sector. The scheme protects the discloser from reprisal.

Examples of wrongdoing

The following are some examples of wrongdoing:

  • suspected illegal conduct
  • corruption
  • maladministration
  • abuse of public trust
  • scientific research deception
  • wasting public money
  • unreasonable danger to health or safety
  • danger to the environment
  • abuse of position
  • conduct which may be grounds for disciplinary action

Who can make a PID                      

Generally, a discloser must be a current or former public official. This includes:

  • Australian Public Service employees
  • Australian Government company employees and directors
  • Australian Government contracted service providers
  • statutory office holders

Protections provided under the PID Act

To gain the protection of the PID Act you must comply with the Act’s requirements.

The PID Act ensures you are immune from civil, criminal and administrative liability (including disciplinary action) that might otherwise arise from making the disclosure. This is subject to some exceptions.

The protection will also ensure there’s no:

  • disclosure of your identity without consent
  • reprisal action and threats of reprisal

How to make a PID

Who to report to

To gain the protection of the PID Act you must disclose to an authorised person.

You can make a PID about our department by contacting the Secretary, or an authorised officer. Our authorised officers are:

You can also tell your manager about your disclosure and they will pass it to an authorised officer.

The PID scheme is designed to facilitate internal disclosures and investigations. In limited circumstances, you may want to make a PID to someone outside the Australian Government. If you're considering making such a disclosure, it is important to seek independent legal advice to see if you are protected under the Act. 

What information to include

You don’t have to follow a specific format to make a disclosure.

A disclosure can be made:

  • anonymously or openly
  • verbally (in person or by phone)
  • in writing (by email or hardcopy)

Our department prefers PIDs in writing. Please try to cover the following information in your PID:

  • your name and contact details (although you may choose to remain anonymous)
  • details of the alleged wrongdoing
  • who you think committed the alleged wrongdoing
  • when and where the alleged wrongdoing occurred
  • any relevant evidence surrounding the alleged wrongdoing
  • whether you did anything in response to the alleged wrongdoing
  • others who know about the alleged wrongdoing and any action they have taken
  • whether you believe your information is a PID under the PID Act
  • if you’re concerned about possible reprisals as a result of making your disclosure
  • if you have any supporting correspondence or documentation and if you can provide copies

After you make a PID

Our Secretary decides how the PID scheme operates in our department. Details can be found in the PID procedure [473KB PDF] [147KB DOCX].

Read more

Read about Public interest disclosure on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.

Last updated: 24 October 2018

Content ID: 26691