Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle has been offered to a right of reply after Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan attacked him under parliamentary privilege last week.
Mr Jordan took a Senate estimates hearing by surprise when he began his evidence with an attack on Mr Boyle and whistleblower Ron Shamir, and on the media for its reporting of their cases.
The committee has now offered Mr Boyle a right of reply, but it is unclear whether he will take up the offer by the deadline on November 8. It is also unclear what other action the committee might take, such as requiring Mr Jordan to provide any statements to parliamentary hearings in advance.
Any response Mr Boyle did decide to make would be protected by parliamentary privilege, as was Mr Jordan's attack.
In his statement, which the Tax Office has also posted on its website, Mr Jordan said the media's Right to Know campaign about government secrecy had reignited misleading commentary about the Tax Office's attitude towards whistleblowers. He accused Mr Boyle and Mr Shamir of repeatedly seeking out the public eye, and making potentially damaging claims about the tax office.
In "stark contrast" the the suggestion they lost their jobs as a result of whistleblowing, both men "were subject to ongoing workplace performance or conduct issues that were close to finalisation and likely to result in their termination", Mr Jordan told the Senate committee.
He accused Mr Shamir of "persistent and inappropriate behaviour towards fellow employees and managers" and suggested he had "a similar experience" at his previous job.
Mr Jordan said he could not speak as openly as he wanted to on Mr Boyle's case because of the court case, listed for Adelaide on December 10. But he said Mr Boyle was accused of breaching taxation secrecy and listening device laws by allegedly "providing personal taxpayer information to a third party and allegedly recording people's conversations without their approval".
Mr Jordan's use of parliamentary privilege to attack the men brought sharp criticism.