12.1 Previous chapters in this Report have considered the regulation of the conduct of Commonwealth officers and others through criminal secrecy offences, including the recommended general secrecy offence and specific secrecy offences. However, the manner in which an individual handles Commonwealth information will also be influenced by a range of administrative and other non-criminal obligations—in particular, those that apply to Commonwealth employees through the employment relationship. These are the focus of the following three chapters of this Report.
12.2 This chapter considers the administrative secrecy obligations of persons engaged as Australian Public Service (APS) employees under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth), and makes a number of recommendations for clarifying and consolidating these obligations. Procedural safeguards for the investigation and enforcement of administrative secrecy obligations are also discussed.
12.3 Chapter 13 proposes models for harmonising the administrative secrecy regimes that apply to Commonwealth employees other than APS employees—such as members of the Australian Defence Force, members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and employees of public authorities—with the Public Service Act framework. The chapter also considers mechanisms for regulating persons who are not in an ongoing employment relationship with the Australian Government, such as private sector contractors and former Commonwealth employees.
12.4 Chapters 14 and 15 discuss the tools available to Australian Government agencies to foster effective information-handling practices; for example, through developing and implementing information-handling policies and engaging employees in training and development programs.