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Conduct and Ethics Manual

Conduct and Ethics Manual

Table of Contents


We must all have a strong commitment to our professional conduct, with each of us sharing a responsibility to support and promote a culture that ensures an ethical and safe workplace. The Conduct and Ethics Manual is an important tool to help us meet this important objective and I commend it to you.

We cannot tolerate unethical or inappropriate behavior and I expect all of us to call it out wherever we see it. This includes behaviour that contravenes the APS Code of Conduct, Values and Employment Principles and DFAT's Anti-bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy, Values Statement, Code of Conduct for Overseas Service and Locally Engaged Staff (LES) Codes of Conduct at overseas posts.

All Australian Public Servants (APS), LES and contractors play an important role in advancing Australia's security and prosperity in a more contested and competitive world.

It is the clear expectation of the Government, the Australian community, as well as my own, that we all maintain the highest standards of professionalism, probity, accountability and ethical practice in the course of our work.

DFAT takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, including bullying, harassment and discrimination. Such allegations will be investigated effectively and fairly and sanctions imposed when breaches have occurred.

The Manual is the principal source of departmental guidance and policy on conduct and ethics issues for all categories of DFAT employees. It is reviewed regularly to ensure its provisions remain current and relevant, and I welcome ongoing comment on how it may be improved.

In addition to the Manual, the department's Employee Conduct and Ethics Unit (EES) is a valuable source of advice available to all staff.

Frances Adamson
17 October 2019

Document Revision History

Version Number Date Revised by (name & position) Changes (location & nature)
1 16/12/09 DIR MCS
2 08/10 A/g DIR MCS
  • Revised version of Chapter 11
  • New guidance on managing requests from Ministers' offices (Chapter 8)
3 10/10 EO MCS Revised Ch 8 to take account of APSC/Ethics Advisory Committee comments
4 12/10 Ethics Committee Manual revised and Version 2 approved
5 03/11 EO MCS Revision to Whistleblowing in DFAT section 10.2.12
6 11/11 EO MCS Amendments to sections 11.2.24; 11.1.45; 11.1.52(a) to clarify operation of these provisions.
7 04/12 EO MCS Amendments to Chapter 8 (8.4 and 8.5) consistent with APSC Circular 2012/1: Revisions to the Commission's guidance on making public comment and participating online.
8 06/13 MCS Amendments throughout to reflect amendments to Public Service Act 1999 and Public Service Regulations 1999 as provided in the Public Service Amendment Act 2013.
9 10/14 MCS Amendments throughout to reflect the integration of AusAid, international Climate Change and Tourism functions; amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct; and introduction of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. Changes also reflect updates to DFAT policy on public comment.
10 01/16 MCS Amendments to: Introduction and Chapter 3.2 to reflect the DFAT Values statement; Chapter 5.3 on the process around Outside Employment requests; Chapter 5.4 relating to departmental policy on employment after leaving the department.
11 01/17 MCS New chapter on child protection.
12 24/17 EES Update Section names
13 20/17 EES New Secretary Introduction
14 02/18 EES Update to Sexual Harassment Policy
15 10/19 EES Amendments to: Chapter 5 on Conflicts of Interest and Chapter 12 on Managing Alleged Misconduct in DFAT
16 10/19 EES Update to the Conflicts of Interest form to reflect the change in definition from 'real apparent or potential' to 'real or apparent' conflicts of interest

Document Archive

The original version of this Manual and all superseded versions of this Manual are archived in EES.

The Administrative Circulars replaced by the original version of this Manual were:

  • P0308 Public Service Act 1999 - New Departmental Procedures for Determining Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
  • P0352 Making a Whistleblowing Disclosure and Protection for Whistleblowers
  • P0397 Acceptance of Gifts or Other Benefits: Sponsored Travel
  • P0400 Reporting Fraud or Misconduct
  • P0458 Procedures for Dealing with Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality
  • P0526 Outside Employment for APS Employees and Locally-Engaged Staff
  • P0591 Revised Code of Conduct for Overseas Service
  • P0704 Conduct and Ethics: Use of Department-Licensed Computer Software for Work Purposes at Home
  • P0826 Conduct and Ethics: Revised Policy Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest
  • P0830 Code of Conduct: Movement of APS Staff between Agencies
  • P0861 Use of Internet Social Networking Tools by Departmental Staff
  • P0950 Lobbying Code of Conduct and Post-Separation Employment
  • N625/09 APSC Ethics Advisory Service and DFAT Conduct and Ethics Unit.
  • Other documents replaced by the original version of this Manual were:
  • Human Resources Manual Volume 1 Chapter 13
  • Locally Engaged Staff Management: A Better Practice Guide Chapter 14.
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