Territory Stories

Freedom of Information, Privacy Protection & Public Interest Disclosures in the Northern Territory : annual report 2011-2012



Freedom of Information, Privacy Protection & Public Interest Disclosures in the Northern Territory : annual report 2011-2012

Other title

Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report 2011 - 12


Northern Territory. Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report; Annual Report




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Whistle blowing; Law and Legislation; Annual report; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report; Annual Report



Previously known as

Office of the Information Commissioner

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Page 5 2. Office of the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures 2.1. Overview of legislation The main objectives of the Public Interest Disclosure Act are to encourage and facilitate the making of disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies and to establish a system for these matters to be investigated. The Act provides both protection to a discloser (often referred to as a whistleblower) who makes a disclosure, and remedies to protect them if reprisal action is taken against them. The Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures is an independent officer established to investigate improper conduct in Northern Territory public bodies including government departments, public hospitals, universities and local councils. Improper conduct includes matters such as seeking or accepting bribes, fraud, theft and behaviour that causes a substantial risk to public health and safety, to the environment or to the proper administration of public bodies. The Commissioner decides whether a disclosure should be investigated and by whom. The Commissioner cannot investigate matters that are primarily personal or employment grievances or disagreements over policies that have been properly adopted. There is legislative discretion not to investigate a matter that contains misleading information, is trivial or has already been investigated. Some matters can also be referred to other appropriate bodies for investigation. The Commissioner has significant investigative powers to obtain information and to question people. It is an offence to fail to provide information or to answer questions when directed. Providing misleading information and omitting relevant information is also an offence. The Commissioner can also enter premises of public bodies and seize information. Investigations are conducted in private and, where possible and appropriate, the identity of the discloser and others interviewed will remain confidential. Investigations are also conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice. This means that where the Commissioner is considering making an adverse comment against a person or body, they are given a chance to comment on the allegations, and any response is included in the investigation report. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Commissioner issues findings and recommendations about the improper conduct in a report to the public body. If the report contains recommendations, then the public body will be given time to implement them. If they fail to do so, the Commissioner may issue a public

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