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“The Australian public, quite rightly, demands high standards of behaviour and ethical conduct from the people entrusted with this responsibility”

Public servants exercise authority on behalf of the Australian Government and manage significant financial resources on its behalf. Their actions directly affect the lives of the public and the confidence that the public has in Government.



Lead Agency

Australian Public Service Commission


Public Service Act 1999

Code of Conduct

See Act

Who is Covered

Public Servants


Optional (see Embedding the APS Values: Framework and checklist)

Internal Oversight

Lead Agency
Agency HR

External Oversight



Public Service Act 1999

Values – Section 10

Code – Section 13

Principles / Values

Relationship with the Government and the Parliament

  • is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner.
  • is openly accountable for its actions, within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to the Government, the Parliament and the Australian public.
  • is responsive to the Government in providing frank, honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely advice and in implementing the Government’s policies and programs.

Relationship with the Public

  • delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian public and is sensitive to the diversity of the Australian public.
  • provides a reasonable opportunity to all eligible members of the community to apply for APS employment.

Workplace Relationships

  • is a public service in which employment decisions are based on merit.
  • provides a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognises and utilises the diversity of the Australian community it serves.
  • establishes workplace relations that value communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect their workplace.
  • provides a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace.
  • focuses on achieving results and managing performance.
  • promotes equity in employment.
  • provides a fair system of review of decisions taken in respect of APS employees.


The Code of Conduct requires that an employee must:

  • behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment.
  • act with care and diligence in the course of APS employment.
  • when acting in the course of APS employment, must treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and without harassment.
  • when acting in the course of APS employment, must comply with all applicable Australian laws.
  • comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the employee’s Agency who has authority to give the direction.
  • maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings that the employee has with any minister or minister’s member of staff.
  • disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment.
  • use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner.
  • not provide false or misleading information in response to a request for information that is made for official purposes in connection with the employee’s APS employment.
  • not make improper use of:
  • inside information or
  • the employee’s duties, status, power or authority

in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for the employee or for any other person.

  • at all times behave in a way that upholds the APS Values and the integrity and good reputation of the APS.
  • while on duty overseas must at all times behave in a way that upholds the good reputation of Australia.
  • except in the course of his or her duties as an APS employee or with the Agency Head’s express authority, not give or disclose, directly or indirectly, any information about public business or anything of which the employee has official knowledge.

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