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Public Interest Disclosure Act

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) is a legislative scheme for the reporting and investigation of suspected serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. The scheme supplements existing avenues for dealing with complaints and allegations of misconduct.

Who can make a public interest disclosure?

You must be a current or former public official to make a disclosure under the PID Act.

Public official is a broad term which includes:

  • any person employed by the Australian Government
  • individuals employed by Commonwealth companies, statutory authorities,  statutory agencies, the Parliamentary service, statutory officeholders and government business enterprises
  • service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and their staff.

What type of wrongdoing can be reported?

You can disclose information that you believe on reasonable grounds tends to show disclosable conduct. In general, this means conduct by a Commonwealth agency, public official or a contracted Commonwealth service provider (in connection with the Commonwealth contract) that:

  • contravenes a law
  • is corrupt
  • perverts the course of justice
  • is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent
  • is an abuse of public trust
  • results in a wastage of public funds or property
  • unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment, or
  • could, if proved, give rise to disciplinary action.

Disagreement with government policy, action or expenditure does not constitute disclosable conduct.

How can a public interest disclosure be made?

Public interest disclosures can be made openly or anonymously, orally or in writing, to an Authorised Officer under the PID Act.

The Authorised Officers for the Attorney-General's Department, of which AGS is a part, are:

Chris Moraitis PSM, Secretary
Tel: 02 6141 4100
Email: PID@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Liz Quinn, Assistant Secretary, Legal Assistance
Tel: 02 6141 4800
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or elizabeth.quinn@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Iain Anderson, Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Corporate Group
Tel: 02 6141 3560
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or iain.anderson@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Antonia McKinnon, acting Director, Strategy and Delivery Division
Tel: 02 6141 3399
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or antonia.mckinnon@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Katherine Jones, Deputy Secretary, National Security and Emergency Management Group
Tel: 02 6141 4130
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or katherine.jones@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Briony Daley Whitworth, acting Assistant Director, Strategy and Delivery Division
Tel: 02 6141 2918
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or briony.daleywhitworth@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Matt Minogue, First Assistant Secretary, Strategy and Delivery Division
Tel: 02 6141 2782
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or matthew.minogue@ag.gov.au​
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.
Denise Saunders, National Manager AGS Training Services, Australian Government Solicitor
Tel: 02 6253 7268
Email: PID@ags.gov.au or denise.saunders@ags.gov.au
4 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.
Andrew Rice, Assistant Secretary, National Security Policy
Tel: 02 6141 3620
Email: PID@ag.gov.au or andrew.rice@ag.gov.au
Address: 3–5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600.

A current public official may also make a disclosure to their supervisor who must pass it on to an authorised officer.

If you make an anonymous disclosure, you should be aware that:

  • it would make further consideration of your disclosure difficult as we would not able to contact you to seek any necessary additional information
  • it would be difficult to protect you from reprisal
  • we would not be able to update you on the progress of the matter.

Protections offered under the PID Act

If you make a disclosure under the PID Act:

  • you cannot be made subject to any criminal, civil or administrative liability, or action for breach of contract, provided that you do not disclose the wrongdoing to someone who is not authorised to receive it – ie to someone other than an authorised officer or your supervisor – or knowingly make a statement that is false or misleading
  • a person cannot take or threaten to take an action against you because you made a disclosure – otherwise they will be potentially subject to criminal penalty
  • unless you consent to your identity being disclosed, your identity will be kept confidential as far as practicable.

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
  • if you are concerned about possible reprisal as a result of making a disclosure.

More information

More information on the PID Act is available from the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website.