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Receipt of Gifts or Benefits
Impartiality may not be compromised by acceptance of gifts or benefits
The Public Service Act, 1999 specifies that a public servant must not take advantage, or seek to take advantage, of their official position in order to obtain a benefit for either themselves or someone else. Benefits that may compromise the ethics of a decision maker include:
- sponsored travel;
- frequent flyer benefits;
- airline lottery type prizes;
- substantial hospitality;
- car hire discounts; and
Secretary may approve acceptance of gift
A gift may only be accepted with the express written approval of the Secretary. However, the Secretary may specify the conditions under which a gift or benefit may be accepted without seeking written approval.
APS Values and Code of Conduct in practice - Chapter 12: Gifts and benefits
DVA Guidelines for the Acceptance of Gifts and Benefits (internal/DVA staff link)
Acceptance of gifts or benefits refer to the Public Service Act, 1999
Factors taken into account when assessing acceptability of gifts
Some of the factors which are taken into consideration when assessing whether a gift or benefit should be accepted include:
- whether acceptance of the gift would give rise to, or appear, to be a conflict of interest;
- the possibility of a continuing relationship with the donor;
- the value of the gift; and
- whether refusal of the gift would have possible adverse consequences to the Commonwealth.
Acceptance of bribes and solicited gifts are offences
Any acceptance of a benefit or gift which could be defined as a bribe would not result in disciplinary action under the Public Service Act 1999, but is an offence under the Crimes Act 1914. It is also an offence to solicit a gift in return for the public servant either performing, or refraining from performing, a specific action.