Former councillor blasts state government template
A draft document that outlines the ethical and legal requirements of councillors, Council staff, committee members, Council delegates and advisers has been labelled ‘despicable’ by former councillor Duncan Dey (Greens).
According to the new code, a council committee member may have a pecuniary interest when deciding matters, as long as the local government minister allows it.
Yet acting mayor Michael Lyon (Greens) says while he agrees with Dey’s sentiments, they are ‘mandatory elements of the Code of Conduct’.
Yet to be adopted
The new codes will be put on public exhibition after being endorsed at last Thursday’s meeting. They will be tabled again before being debated and adopted by councillors.
Cr Lyon says, ‘Council has no option but to include them in our codes of conduct. Council must adopt the new model Code of Conduct and Procedures. We can include supplementary provisions, or more onerous provisions, but we can’t dilute the standards prescribed in the Model Code of Conduct that are imposed by state government’.
Clause 5.28 of the Code of Conduct for Council Committee Members, Delegates of Council and Council Advisers reads, ‘The Minister for Local Government may, conditionally or unconditionally, allow a council committee member who has a pecuniary interest in a matter with which the council is concerned to be present at a meeting of the committee, to take part in the consideration or discussion of the matter and to vote on the matter if the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the interests of the electors for the area to do so’.
Dey says additionally clauses 5.29, 6.13 and 6.14 also ‘endorse corruption’.
Dey said, ‘There is no place for a government minister to waive the fact of pecuniary interest, especially a state government Minister at local government level’.
He’s also called some of the document ‘unreadable’, with ill-defined definitions applying to words such as ‘unethical’.
Within his submission, he suggests all three documents should adhere to plain language, as described at www.plainlanguage.gov.resources/checklists/checklist