Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) Review
1. Thank you for the opportunity to provide this submission on the statutory review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) (the PID Act) as required under section 82A of the PID Act.
2. The PID Act is intended to encourage and facilitate the making of public interest disclosures by public officials and, in some circumstances, provides public officials with protection from liability under secrecy laws. The PID Act often operates in conjunction, therefore, with other Commonwealth legislation.1
3. Questions arise as to whether existing whistleblower arrangements, including under the PID Act, are adequate to offer protection for individuals in both the private and public sectors. Further, the PID Act may operate with secrecy provisions to prevent a disclosure where the disclosure would, on balance, be in the public interest.
4. There are also some practical difficulties in applying the provisions of the PID Act in a situation where an employee of a Commonwealth contracted service provider makes a disclosure. A key problematic aspect of the legislation is the difficult question of whether/when a workplace grievance or conflict is a PID.