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Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013

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2010-2011-2012-2013

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013

 

 

(1)     Clause  8 , page 6 (after line 26) , after the definition of Commonwealth contract , insert:

Commonwealth tribunal means:

                     (a)  a body established as a tribunal by or under a law of the Commonwealth; or

                     (b)  a statutory officeholder prescribed by the PID rules for the purposes of this paragraph.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(2)     Clause  8 , page 7 (lines 16 and 17) , omit the definition of designated publication restriction , substitute:

designated publication restriction means any of the following:

                     (a)  section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 ;

                     (b)  section 91X of the Migration Act 1958 ;

                     (c)  section 110X of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 ;

                     (d)  a non-publication order (within the meaning of Part XAA of the Judiciary Act 1903 ) of any court;

                     (e)  a suppression order (within the meaning of Part XAA of the Judiciary Act 1903 ) of any court;

                      (f)  an order under section 31 or 38L of the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 ;

                     (g)  an order under section 28 of the Witness Protection Act 1994 ;

                     (h)  an order under subsection 35(2) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 ;

                      (i)  a direction under section 35AA of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 ;

                      (j)  a direction under subsection 25A(9) of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 ;

                     (k)  section 29B of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 ;

                      (l)  a direction under section 90 of the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 ;

                    (m)  section 92 of the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 .

[designated publication restrictions]

(3)     Clause  8 , page 8 (lines 18 to 20) , omit the definition of inadequate .

[inadequate investigations]

(4)     Clause 8, page 9 (line 21) , omit “ tribunal ”, substitute “ Commonwealth tribunal ”.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(5)     Clause  8 , page 10 (after line 19) , after the definition of statutory officeholder , insert:

supervisor , in relation to a person who makes a disclosure, is a public official who supervises or manages the person making the disclosure.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(6)     Clause  11 , page 12 (line 12) , after “ for ”, insert “ knowingly ”.

[false or misleading statements]

(7)     Page 12 (after line 16) , after clause  11 , insert:

11A   Designated publication restrictions

                   Section 10 does not apply to civil, criminal or administrative liability (including disciplinary action) for making a disclosure that contravenes a designated publication restriction if the person making the disclosure:

                     (a)  knows that the disclosure contravenes the designated publication restriction; and

                     (b)  does not have a reasonable excuse for that contravention.

[designated publication restrictions]

(8)     Clause 18, page 15 (line 22) to page 16 (line 10), omit the clause, substitute:

18   Costs only if proceedings instituted vexatiously etc.

             (1)  In proceedings (including an appeal) in a court in relation to a matter arising under section 14, 15 or 16, the applicant for an order under that section must not be ordered by the court to pay costs incurred by another party to the proceedings, except in accordance with subsection (2).

             (2)  The applicant may be ordered to pay the costs only if:

                     (a)  the court is satisfied that the applicant instituted the proceedings vexatiously or without reasonable cause; or

                     (b)  the court is satisfied that the applicant’s unreasonable act or omission caused the other party to incur the costs.

[interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009; costs]

(9)     Clause  19 , page 16 (line 15) , omit the penalty, substitute:

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years or 120 penalty units, or both.

[penalties for reprisals etc.]

(10)   Clause  19 , page 16 (line 29) , omit the penalty, substitute:

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years or 120 penalty units, or both.

[penalties for reprisals etc.]

(11)   Page 17 (after line 4) , at the end of Subdivision B , add:

19A   Interaction between civil remedies and offences

                   To avoid doubt, a person may bring proceedings under section 14, 15 or 16 in relation to the taking of a reprisal, or the threat to take a reprisal, even if a prosecution for an offence against section 19 in relation to the reprisal or threat has not been brought, or cannot be brought.

[interaction between civil remedies and offences]

(12)   Heading to Subdivision D , page 18 (line 28) , omit the heading, substitute:

Subdivision D Interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009

[interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009]

(13)   Clause 22, page 19 (line 1), after “employee”, insert “(within the meaning of that Part)”.

[meaning of employee]

(14)   Page 19 (after line 5) , after clause  22 , insert:

22A   Interaction with remedies under the Fair Work Act 2009

             (1)  A person is not entitled to make an application to the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court for an order under section 14, 15 or 16 of this Act in relation to particular conduct if another application has been made:

                     (a)  under section 539 of the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to a contravention of section 340 or 772 of that Act constituted by the same conduct; or

                     (b)  under section 394 of the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to the same conduct.

             (2)  A person is not entitled to apply under:

                     (a)  section 539 of the Fair Work Act 2009 for an order in relation to a contravention of section 340 or 772 of that Act constituted by particular conduct; or

                     (b)  section 394 of the Fair Work Act 2009 for an order in relation to particular conduct;

if another application has been made for an order under section 14, 15 or 16 of this Act in relation to the same conduct.

             (3)  This section does not apply if the other application mentioned in subsection (1) or (2) has been discontinued or has failed for want of jurisdiction.

[interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009]

(15)   Page 19 (before line 6) , before clause  23 , insert:

Subdivision E Miscellaneous

[interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009]

(16)   Clause  25 , page 21 (line 8) , after “ recipient ”, insert “ or a supervisor ”.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(17)   Clause 25, page 21 (lines 17 and 18), omit “designated publication restrictions and”.

[designated publication restrictions]

( 18 )   Clause  25 , page 21 (lines 20 to 22) , omit note 1 , substitute:

Note 1:       Disclosable conduct , authorised internal recipient and intelligence information are defined in Subdivisions B, C and D.

[designated publication restrictions]

(19)   Clause  26 , page 22 (table item  1 ), omit the table item, substitute:

1

Internal disclosure

An authorised internal recipient, or a supervisor of the discloser

The information tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that the information tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.

[disclosure to supervisors; disclosure without belief of disclosable conduct; designated publication restrictions]

(20)   Clause  26 , page 22 (paragraph (a) of the cell at table item  2 , column 3 ), omit the paragraph, substitute:

(a) The information tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that the information tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.

[disclosure without belief of disclosable conduct]

(21)   Clause  26 , pages 22 and 23 (paragraphs (c) and (d) of the cell at table item  2 , column 3 ), omit the paragraphs, substitute:

(c) Any of the following apply:

(i) a disclosure investigation relating to the internal disclosure was conducted under Part 3, and the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that the investigation was inadequate;

(ii) a disclosure investigation relating to the internal disclosure was conducted (whether or not under Part 3), and the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that the response to the investigation was inadequate;

(iii) this Act requires an investigation relating to the internal disclosure to be conducted under Part 3, and that investigation has not been completed within the time limit under section 52.

[inadequate investigations]

(22)   Clause 26, page 23 (paragraph (f) of the cell at table item 2, column 3), omit “in the public interest”, substitute “to identify one or more instances of disclosable conduct”.

[external disclosures]

(23)   Clause  26 , page 23 (paragraph (g) of the cell at table item  2 , column 3 ), omit the paragraph.

[designated publication restrictions]

(24)   Clause  26 , page 24 (paragraph (e) of the cell at table item  3 , column 3 ), omit the paragraph.

[designated publication restrictions]

(25)   Clause  26 , page 24 (after line 3) , after subclause ( 2 ), insert:

          (2A)  A response to a disclosure investigation is taken, for the purposes of item 2 of the table in subsection (1), not to be inadequate to the extent that the response involves action that has been, is being, or is to be taken by:

                     (a)  a Minister; or

                     (b)  the Speaker of the House of Representatives; or

                     (c)  the President of the Senate.

[inadequate investigations]

(26)   Clause  26 , page 24 (after line 6) , before paragraph ( 3 )(a), insert:

                    (aa)  whether the disclosure would promote the integrity and accountability of the Commonwealth public sector;

                   (ab)  the extent to which the disclosure would expose a failure to address serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector;

                    (ac)  the extent to which it would assist in protecting the discloser from adverse consequences relating to the disclosure if the disclosure were a public interest disclosure;

                   (ad)  the principle that disclosures by public officials should be properly investigated and dealt with;

                    (ae)  the nature and seriousness of the disclosable conduct;

[public interest test]

(27)   Heading to clause  32 , page 29 (line 20) , omit “ tribunals ”, substitute “ Commonwealth tribunals ”.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(28)   Clause  32 , page 29 (line 30) to page 30 (line 3) , omit paragraph ( 1 )( c ), substitute:

                     (c)  conduct of:

                              (i)  a member of a Commonwealth tribunal; or

                             (ii)  the chief executive officer of a Commonwealth tribunal; or

                            (iii)  a member of the staff of the chief executive officer of a Commonwealth tribunal;

                            when exercising a power of the Commonwealth tribunal; or

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(29)   Clause  32 , page 30 (line 4) , omit “ tribunal ”, substitute “ Commonwealth tribunal ”.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(30)   Clause  32 , page 30 (lines 14 to 27) , omit subclause ( 3 ), substitute:

             (3)  Member of the staff of the chief executive officer of a court or Commonwealth tribunal means:

                     (a)  an officer of the court or Commonwealth tribunal (other than the chief executive officer); or

                     (b)  a member of the staff of the registry or registries of the court or Commonwealth tribunal; or

                     (c)  an officer or employee of an agency whose services are made available to the court or Commonwealth tribunal; or

                     (d)  a person prescribed by the PID rules to be a member of the staff of the court or Commonwealth tribunal for the purposes of this Act.

Note:          For declaration by class, see subsection 13(3) of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 .

             (4)  For the purposes of subsection (3):

                     (a)  a judicial officer of a court is not taken to be an officer of the court; and

                     (b)  a member of a Commonwealth tribunal is not taken to be an officer of the tribunal; and

                     (c)  if a statutory officeholder is a Commonwealth tribunal—the statutory officeholder is not taken to be an officer of the tribunal.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(31)   Clause  34 , page 32 (line 1) , omit the note, substitute:

Note 1:       For authorised officer , see section 36.

Note 2:       A discloser may also disclose information to his or her supervisor (who is then obliged under section 60A to give the information to an authorised officer).

[disclosure to supervisors]

(32)   Subdivision D , clauses  37 to 39 , page 33 (line 13) to page 34 (line 32) , omit the Subdivision.

[inadequate investigations]

(33)   Heading to Subdivision E , page 35 (line 1) , omit the heading, substitute:

Subdivision D Intelligence information

[designated publication restrictions]

(34)   Clause  40 , page 35 (lines 2 to 25) , omit the clause.

[designated publication restrictions]

(35)   Clause 42, page 38 (line 5), after “an agency”, insert “(either directly by the discloser or through a supervisor of the discloser)”.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(36)   Clause  42 , page 38 (lines 8 to 10) , omit the note, substitute:

Note 1:       In order for a disclosure to be an internal disclosure (one of the types of public interest disclosure), the disclosure must be made to an authorised officer or a supervisor.

Note 2:       The way a disclosure is allocated (or a refusal to allocate a disclosure) may be the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act 1976 , or (in the case of an intelligence agency) to the IGIS under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 .

[disclosure to supervisors; complaints to Ombudsman and IGIS]

(37)   Clause  43 , page 38 (lines 12 to 17) , omit subclause ( 1 ), substitute:

             (1)  If a person (the discloser ) discloses information:

                     (a)  to an authorised officer of an agency (the recipient agency ); or

                     (b)  to a supervisor of the discloser who then gives the information to the authorised officer;

the authorised officer must allocate the handling of the disclosure to one or more agencies (which may be or include the recipient agency).

Note 1:       For the assistance that authorised officers must give to disclosers, see section 60.

Note 2:       For the obligation of supervisors to give information to authorised officers, see section 60A.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(38)   Clause 44, page 39 (line 28), after “authorised officer”, insert “, and the discloser consents to the principal officer being informed”.

[notification of allocation decision]

(39)   Clause  44 , page 39 (after line 28) , after subclause ( 1 ), insert:

          (1A)  The authorised officer must also inform:

                     (a)  if the disclosure is allocated to an agency that is not the Ombudsman, the IGIS or an intelligence agency—the Ombudsman; or

                     (b)  if the disclosure is allocated to an intelligence agency—the IGIS;

of the matters of which the principal officer of the agency must be informed under subsection (1).

[notification of allocation decision]

(40)   Clause 44, page 39 (lines 29 and 30), omit “if the discloser is readily contactable”.

[contacting the discloser]

(41)   Clause 44, page 39 (lines 32 and 33), omit “, if the discloser is readily contactable,”.

[contacting the discloser]

(42)   Clause  44 , page 40 (after line 4) , at the end of the clause, add:

             (4)  Subsection (2) or (3) does not apply if contacting the discloser is not reasonably practicable.

[contacting the discloser]

(43)   Clause  46 , page 41 (after line 10) , at the end of the clause, add:

Note:          The way a disclosure is investigated (or a refusal to investigate a disclosure) may be the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act 1976 , or (in the case of an intelligence agency) to the IGIS under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 .

[complaints to Ombudsman and IGIS]

(44)   Clause  48 , page 42 (lines 6 and 7) , omit paragraph ( 1 )( b ).

[discretion not to investigate]

(45)   Clause  48 , page 42 (lines 10 and 11) , omit paragraph ( 1 )( d ), substitute:

                     (d)  the disclosure is frivolous or vexatious; or

[discretion not to investigate]

(46)   Clause  48 , page 42 (lines 36 and 37) , omit subparagraph ( 1 )( i )( i ), substitute:

                              (i)  because the discloser’s name and contact details have not been disclosed; or

[notification of allocation decision]

(47)   Clause 49, page 43 (line 34), omit “if the discloser is readily contactable—”.

[contacting the discloser]

(48)   Clause  49 , page 44 (after line 1) , at the end of the clause, add:

             (4)  Paragraph (3)(b) does not apply if contacting the discloser is not reasonably practicable.

[contacting the discloser]

(49)   Clause 50, page 44 (line 3), omit “If the discloser is readily contactable, the”, substitute “The”.

[contacting the discloser]

(50)   Clause 50, page 44 (line 4), after “must”, insert “, as soon as reasonably practicable,”.

[contacting the discloser]

(51)   Clause  50 , page 44 (after line 10) , after subclause ( 1 ), insert:

          (1A)  If paragraph (1)(a) applies, the principal officer must inform the discloser of the estimated length of the investigation.

[estimate of duration of investigation]

(52)   Clause 50, page 44 (after line 26) , at the end of the clause, add:

             (5)  This section does not apply if contacting the discloser is not reasonably practicable.

[contacting the discloser]

(53)   Page 44 (after line 26) , after clause  50 , insert:

50A   Notification to Ombudsman or IGIS of decision not to investigate

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  the principal officer of the agency has decided under section 48 or 49 not to investigate the disclosure under this Division, or not to investigate the disclosure further; and

                     (b)  the agency is not the Ombudsman, the IGIS or an intelligence agency;

the principal officer must inform the Ombudsman of the decision, and of the reasons for the decision.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  the principal officer of the agency has decided under section 48 or 49 not to investigate the disclosure under this Division, or not to investigate the disclosure further; and

                     (b)  the agency is an intelligence agency;

the principal officer must inform the IGIS of the decision, and of the reasons for the decision.

[notification of decision not to investigate]

(54)   Clause 51, page 45 (line 15), omit “If the discloser is readily contactable, the”, substitute “The”.

[contacting the discloser]

(55)   Clause  51 , page 45 (line 29) , at the end of paragraph ( 5 )( b ), add:

                     ; or (iv)  contravene a designated publication restriction.

[designated publication restrictions]

(56)   Clause 51, page 45 (after line 29) , at the end of the clause, add:

             (6)  Subsection (4) does not apply if contacting the discloser is not reasonably practicable.

[contacting the discloser]

(57)   Clause  52 , page 46 (lines 19 to 22) , omit subclause ( 5 ), substitute:

             (5)  If the 90-day period is extended, or further extended:

                     (a)  the Ombudsman or the IGIS, as the case may be, must inform the discloser of the extension or further extension, and of the reasons for the extension or further extension; and

                     (b)  the principal officer of the agency must, as soon as reasonably practicable after the extension or further extension, inform the discloser of the progress of the investigation.

          (5A)  Subsection (5) does not apply if contacting the discloser is not reasonably practicable.

[reasons for extending period for completion; informing the discloser of progress; contacting the discloser]

(58)   Clause  55 , page 48 (lines 1 to 6) , omit the clause.

[estimate of duration of investigation]

(59)   Clause  57 , page 50 (line 3) , omit “ section 40 ”, substitute “ section 8 ”.

[designated publication restrictions]

(60)   Clause 58, page 51 (line 6), after “authorised officers”, insert “, supervisors”.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(61)   Clause 58, page 5 1 (after line 8) , at the end of the clause, add:

Note:          The way the additional obligations are complied with (or non-compliance with the additional obligations) may be the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act 1976 , or (in the case of an intelligence agency) to the IGIS under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 .

[complaints to Ombudsman and IGIS]

(62)   Page 52 (after line 21) , after clause  60 , insert:

60A   Additional obligations of supervisors

                   If:

                     (a)  a public official discloses information to a supervisor of the public official; and

                     (b)  the supervisor has reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns, or could concern, one or more instances of disclosable conduct; and

                     (c)  the supervisor is not an authorised officer of the agency to which the supervisor belongs;

the supervisor must, as soon as reasonably practicable, give the information to an authorised officer of the agency.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(63)   Clause 65, page 55 (lines 19 and 20), omit “or another law of the Commonwealth”.

[secrecy]

(64)   Clause 65, page 55 (lines 23 and 24), omit “or another law of the Commonwealth”.

[secrecy]

(65)   Clause  65 , page 55 (line 25) to page 56 (line 5) , omit paragraphs (2)( c ) and ( d ), substitute:

                     (c)  the disclosure or use is for the purposes of, or in connection with, taking action in response to a disclosure investigation; or

[secrecy]

(66)   Clause  65 , page 56 (lines 21 to 23) , omit subclause ( 4 ).

[secrecy]

(67)   Clause  70 , page 64 (after line 7) , after subclause ( 3 ), insert:

          (3A)  This section does not apply if the individual is a judicial officer or is a member of a Royal Commission.

[judicial officers etc. not to be public officials]

(68)   Clause 7 3 , page 67 (line 16) , omit “ tribunal ”, substitute “ Commonwealth tribunal ”.

[Commonwealth tribunals]

(69)   Clause 7 5 , page 69 (line 5) , omit “ section 40 ”, substitute “ section 8 ”.

[designated publication restrictions]

(70)   Clause  78 , page 71 (lines 9 to 17) , omit subclause ( 1 ), substitute:

             (1)  A person who is:

                     (a)  the principal officer of an agency or a delegate of the principal officer; or

                     (b)  an authorised officer of an agency; or

                     (c)  a supervisor of a person who makes a disclosure;

is not liable to any criminal or civil proceedings, or any disciplinary action (including any action that involves imposing any detriment), for or in relation to an act or matter done, or omitted to be done, in good faith:

                     (d)  in the performance, or purported performance, of any function conferred on the person by this Act; or

                     (e)  in the exercise, or purported exercise, of any power conferred on the person by this Act.

[disclosure to supervisors]

(71)   Clause 78, page 71 (line 20) , omit “ section 40 ”, substitute “ section 8 ”.

[designated publication restrictions]

( 72 )   Clause  81 , page 72 (lines 8 to 17) , omit the clause.

[law relating to parliamentary privilege]

(73)   Page 72 (after line 24) , after clause  82 , insert:

82A   Review of operation of Act

             (1)  The Minister must cause a review of the operation of this Act to be undertaken.

             (2)  The review must:

                     (a)  start 2 years after the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  be completed within 6 months.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a written report about the review to be prepared.

             (4)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the Minister receives the report.

[review of operation of Act]