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Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Bill 2012

2010-2011-2012

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Bill 2012

 

No.      , 2012

 

(Mr Wilkie)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to strengthen public integrity by encouraging and facilitating the disclosure of corruption, maladministration and other wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector, by protecting public officials who make disclosures, and for related purposes

   

   

   



Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                              2

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 2

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 3

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 3

5............ Crown to be bound............................................................................. 6

6............ Extension to external Territories.......................................................... 6

7............ Extension to things outside Australia.................................................. 6

Part 2—Scope of the Act                                                                                                    7

8............ Meaning of public interest disclosure ................................................. 7

9............ Meaning of disclosable conduct .......................................................... 8

10.......... Meaning of agency ............................................................................ 10

11.......... Meaning of public official ................................................................. 11

12.......... Meaning of disclosure officer ........................................................... 12

13.......... Meaning of relates to an entity.......................................................... 12

14.......... Meaning of head of an agency.......................................................... 13

15.......... Meaning of sensitive defence, intelligence or law enforcement information              13

Part 3—Making a public interest disclosure                                                         15

16.......... Who may make a public interest disclosure?..................................... 15

17.......... To whom may a public interest disclosure be made?......................... 15

18.......... How may a public interest disclosure be made?................................ 15

19.......... Action upon receipt of a public interest disclosure............................ 16

20.......... Limitations on obligations to inform agencies or others about public interest disclosures        16

Part 4—Investigations                                                                                                        18

22.......... Investigation of public interest disclosure......................................... 18

23.......... Referral to another agency................................................................. 18

24.......... Meaning of investigating entity ......................................................... 19

25.......... Referral of possible offences............................................................. 19

26.......... Conduct of investigations.................................................................. 19

27.......... Investigating entity may decide not to investigate etc........................ 20

28.......... Investigating entity must keep referring entity informed................... 21

29.......... Discloser must be kept informed....................................................... 22

30.......... Ombudsman and IGIS must be kept informed.................................. 23

Part 5—Public interest disclosure to third parties                                            24

31.......... When disclosure may be made to journalists etc............................... 24

32.......... Disclosure may be made to journalists etc......................................... 25

33.......... Limitations on disclosures to journalists etc...................................... 25

Part 6—Obligations of agencies                                                                                    27

34.......... Key responsibilities........................................................................... 27

35.......... Public interest disclosure procedures................................................ 27

36.......... Confidentiality guidelines.................................................................. 29

37.......... Notification and reporting................................................................. 30

Part 7—Legal protections for disclosers                                                                 31

38.......... Immunity from liability..................................................................... 31

39.......... Protection from defamation action..................................................... 31

40.......... What is detrimental action ?............................................................... 31

41.......... Detrimental action is adverse action in the course of employment..... 32

42.......... Injunction to prevent detrimental action etc....................................... 32

43.......... Reinstatement.................................................................................... 33

44.......... Damages for detrimental action......................................................... 34

45.......... Vicarious liability.............................................................................. 34

46.......... Offence—victimisation..................................................................... 35

47.......... Liability for own conduct.................................................................. 36

48.......... Loss of protection............................................................................. 36

Part 8—Oversight of public interest disclosures                                                37

49.......... Functions of Ombudsman and IGIS................................................. 37

50.......... Ombudsman and IGIS may review decisions................................... 37

51.......... Ombudsman and IGIS may conduct investigations.......................... 39

52.......... Report by Ombudsman or IGIS........................................................ 39

53.......... Ombudsman or IGIS must tell discloser about decisions.................. 40

54.......... Ombudsman’s standards................................................................... 41

55.......... Annual report.................................................................................... 42

Part 9—Miscellaneous                                                                                                        43

56.......... Protection of witnesses etc................................................................ 43

57.......... Protection of officials from liability................................................... 43

58.......... Offences—use or divulge protected information............................... 44

59.......... Concurrent operation of State and Territory laws.............................. 46

60.......... Legal professional privilege.............................................................. 46

61.......... Parliamentary privilege...................................................................... 46

62.......... Regulations....................................................................................... 46

 



A Bill for an Act to st rengthen public integrity by encouraging and facilitating the disclosure of corruption, maladministration and other wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector, by protecting public officials who make disclosures, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts: