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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:

  •       gifts;
  •       sponsored travel;
  •       frequent flyer benefits;
  •       airline lottery type prizes;
  •       substantial hospitality;
  •       accommodation;
  •       car hire discounts; and
  •       entertainment.
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.    

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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.    

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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

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Ethical considerations for delegates

11.9.4/Conflicts of Interest

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