In accordance with section 13(7) of the Code of Conduct contained in the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act), an APS employee must:
- take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with the employee's APS employment; and
- disclose details of any material personal interest of the employee in connection with the employee's APS employment.
Agency heads and SES employees are required to declare in writing, at least annually, their own and their immediate family's financial and other interests that could cause a real or apparent conflict of interest.
Declarations need to be revised and resubmitted whenever there is a change in personal circumstances and/or a change in work responsibilities that could involve a new real or apparent conflict of interest.
Agency heads may also require other employees to complete a declaration of interests.
Two templates that agencies may wish to adapt for this purpose are available below:
While there is no standard list of items that must be disclosed, the templates provide examples of the types of interests and relationships that could be considered.
A template privacy collection notice is also available for agencies to adapt:
Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme
The Australian Public Service Commission is committed to supporting the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (the scheme), which commenced on 10 December 2018.
The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 establishes the scheme to provide the public and government decision-makers with visibility of the nature, level and extent of foreign influence on Australia’s government and political processes.
The key requirement under the scheme is registration by an individual or entity undertaking certain activities in Australia on behalf of a foreign principal. These activities include those that are political in nature and activities undertaken for political or government influence – parliamentary lobbying, general political lobbying, communications activity and disbursement activity.
It is important for those individuals who may be affected by the scheme to self-identify as needing to register and then registering by 10 March 2019 (the end of the grace period). Failure to register (if required) is an offence attracting penalties from six months to five years imprisonment.
A range of relevant exemptions apply.
Further information on the scheme is available at https://www.ag.gov.au/transparency