It seems that each week I read about another Code of Conduct breach by another Councillor. Some articles call for the code to be strengthened and others say it sets a standard that is too high. Certainly the Code set for Councillors by current legislation is much stronger than state politicians impose on themselves. The problem, as I see it, is that even if found in breach of the code there is very little that the Council concerned can impose by way of penalty. Generally, the investigating party, that could be the Ombudsman or the LGA (depending on the nature of the complaint), calls for the Council to make public the report and to ask for the Councillor to apologise to the aggrieved parties. There have been several in my time at Council but they seem to becoming more frequent. They have been for seeking to treat another councillor differently, breaching confidentiality and pushing a member of the public. In today’s paper there is an article about two Councillors, one of whom allegedly made insulting comments on Facebook. It is time we all take heed from this and become just a little more careful in our communications, both in what we say and who we send our comments onto.
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