Councillor Code Of Conduct
The Local Government Act 2009 has been amended to provide that the Minister must make a Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland that sets out the standards of behaviour for councillors and mayors in performing their functions. The standards of behaviour are summarised as the three R’s, being:
The Code of Conduct for Councillors is backed by tougher penalties for those who breach the Code, including complaints that fall into corrupt conduct, misconduct, inappropriate conduct and a new category of unsuitable meeting conduct. The Code of Conduct took effect on 3 December 2018. All councillors must declare that they will abide by this Code of Conduct when they are elected and will apply to all councils.
Complaints About Councillor Conduct
Inappropriate conduct is defined in section 150K of the Local Government Act 2009.
From 3 December 2018 the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate complaints about inappropriate conduct by councillors.
Previously, complaints about councillor conduct were assessed by the Chief Executive of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, or the council’s CEO.
The OIA can choose to either:
Investigate the complaint and make a decision; or
Refer the complaint back to the CEO for investigation.
Where complaints about inappropriate conduct are investigated by the CEO, the decision about the complaint will be made by Council at an ordinary Council meeting.
Misconduct is defined in section 150L of the Local Government Act 2009.
From 3 December 2018 the Independent Assessor and the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) will assess and investigate complaints about misconduct by councillors.
Previously, complaints about councillor conduct were assessed by the chief executive of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, or the council’s CEO.
The OIA can choose to either:
• investigate the complaint and make a
• refer the complaint to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal for investigation and decision.
Corrupt conduct is defined in section 15 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001.
If Council, the OIA or the Councillor Conduct Tribunal receives a complaint that potentially involves corrupt conduct, the complaint is referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) for investigation.
Where a complaint does not constitute a councillor conduct complaint
The OIA may assess that the complaint is another type of complaint and not a councillor conduct complaint. If this occurs the complaint will be referred back to Council and processed under the relevant complaints process, such as the Administrative Action Complaints process.
Register Of Complaints Against Councillors
Council is required to keep a register of complaints made against councillors and the outcome of these complaints. There are some exceptions to recording complaints regarding public interest disclosures in the register.
The Councillor Conduct Register is available for public inspection at the below link.