The code of conduct for council members is not working many believe. Scrap it some say. We should repeal the code of conduct for council members.
I agree we do need to remove the opportunity for frivolous or vexatious claims to divert us from more important issues. We also need to strengthen the Code to deal with the more serious offending. My final statement in my last blog was the system needs an overhaul.
There is evidence that members have used the Code to bully their colleagues. There is also evidence of persons outside of Council using the Code to make false and misleading claims.
Investigating claims requires significant resources and funding. Resources that are better put to building our community in the case of such claims.
The Premier recently announced an intention to repeal the code of conduct for council members, possibly because of this.
There is another side to this argument. The actions of a handful of elected members are so grave there remains a need for a system to deal with it.
So, while there is angst concerning the frivolous, the Local Government Association (LGA) is advocating for tougher measures in the Act. In other words, they are advocating for the existing code to be improved and strengthened.
A stronger code of conduct with increased penalties for breaches will provide councils with better tools to address serious – albeit isolated – behavioural issues as they arise. The ability to bring to account those that bring our industry into disrepute. At the same time an opportunity for minor behavioural breaches not to be used to bring us into disrepute.
In this background the Premier has announced he is putting off his plans to repeal it. Presumably he is waiting on talks with the LGA.
We should repeal the code of conduct for council members.