Conduct & behaviour
Councillors must promote good conduct and behaviour through leadership and example.
They must also support and promote public confidence in the office of councillor.
Under the Local Government Act 1989 councillors must:
- act with integrity
- act impartially in the interests of the local community
- not improperly give anyone an advantage or disadvantage
- avoid conflicts between their public duties and personal interests
- act honestly and avoid statements or actions that may mislead or deceive someone
- treat everyone's opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities with respect
- take reasonable care and diligence
- endeavour to ensure public resources are used carefully and in the public interest
- act lawfully and not breach the public's trust.
Oath of Office
Once elected, a councillor must take an Oath of Office before the CEO, which is dated, signed and recorded in the council minutes.
A person who has been elected to be a councillor is not capable of acting as a councillor until the Oath is taken and the declaration has been made. Failure to take the Oath or make the declaration within three months of being declared elected will result in the office of that councillor becoming vacant.
The Oath of Office confirms a councillor’s intent to carry out their role impartially, to the best of their ability, and in the best interests of the municipality.
Councillor Code of Conduct
All councils must have a councillor Code of Conduct.
The local community's values and concerns, and council's aspirations should be reflected in the Councillor Code of Conduct. It should uphold ethical and legal behaviour, as well as support the professional, accountable and effective participation of each councillor.
- must include the internal resolution procedure for dealing with an alleged contravention of the Councillor Code of Conduct by a councillor
- can set out processes for resolving internal disputes between councillors
- must include any provisions prescribed for the purpose of this section of the Act
- must include provisions addressing any prescribed matters
- can include any other matters relating to councillor conduct that the council wants to include.
A councillor must read the Councillor Code of Conduct and make a declaration that they will abide by the Code. The declaration must be signed and witnessed by the CEO. If a councillor fails to do so within three months of being elected, their position is declared vacant. This means that failure to make a declaration to abide by the Code is grounds for disqualification as a councillor.
A councillor must also make a declaration within one month of amendments being made to the Code. Failure to do so is grounds for disqualification.
The Councillor Code of Conduct must be reviewed within four months after a general election.