Public officials (disclosers) who suspect wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector can raise their concerns under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act).
Allegations made under the PID Act are public interest disclosures (PID).
All Australian Government agencies, Commonwealth companies and public authorities have responsibilities under the PID Act to:
- investigate suspected wrongdoing
- take appropriate action.
Conduct which may be the subject of a PID includes, but is not limited to:
- a contravention of the law
- perverting the course of justice
- an abuse of public trust
- falsifying scientific research
- wastage of public money, or
- conduct that is a danger to health, safety or the environment.
The PID Act offers protection to disclosers (‘whistleblowers’) from reprisal action. We have released a guide for agencies to use in assessing and managing the risk of reprisal. The guide can be found here.
We have a key role in:
- overseeing and reporting on the operation of the PID Scheme
- promoting awareness and understanding of the PID Act
- providing information to disclosers and agencies.
Who can make a PID?
A current or former public official can make a disclosure. 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.
A public official also includes any other person deemed by the authorised officer to be a public official for the purposes of the PID Act.
Additional information and resources for disclosers can be found here.
How to make a PID
An authorised officer can accept a PID about their agency from officials who belong to it. Australian Government agencies appoint public officials as authorised officers.
Under the PID Act, authorised officers have responsibility for:
- allocating PIDs.
You can make a disclosure to an authorised officer at an agency by telephone, in writing (including by email) or in person.
Contact information for authorised officers is usually published on the relevant agency's website. If you are a current public official, you can also make a PID to an authorised officer through your supervisor.
Read more about authorised officers here.
If you are concerned about making a PID to the relevant agency, you can discuss your options by contacting us.
You can view our privacy statement relating to our PID function here.
Overview of the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) scheme
For further information or assistance regarding the Public Interest Disclosure (PID), phone 02 6276 3777 or email PID@ombudsman.gov.au