Posted 14/10/06





Councillor Code of Conduct



"MRRA made a submission in support of adoption of the exhibited Code, with suggestions for additional strengthening of it, and has read the revised version that is before Council for adoption tonight.


MRRA commends the Code in its revised form to Councillors.  Such a Code is a critical ingredient of transparent and accountable governance. 


The choice before Council is a simple one.


Adopting the Code:


On the other hand, to wind back any of the revised Code, will be to reject community values and community aspirations for how their Councillors should behave.  It will perhaps show a lack of ‘ticker’, a fear of committing to standards the community wants, and so may also be seen as a rejection of the community whose interest you purport to represent.


We know from a previous meeting where the Code was adopted for exhibition, the main concern of several Councillors about the Code was the section that requires Councillors to not meet privately with developers, and to put dealings with interested parties on the official record.


Councillors, there shouldn’t be anything onerous about doing this if you are of a mind to meet community expectations for honest, fair and open behaviour. 


There are times and places for discussions to occur where there are witnesses to proceedings.  Anything less isn’t good process, and the community is saying 'anything less' is not acceptable.


Most people you represent don’t like secret meetings and secret dealings.  They especially don’t like developers getting private access.  In fact, they hate and resent it.  Being seen to favour developers in public is poor.  Being seen to favour them in private is even worse. Unfortunately, that sort of behaviour is seen as Councillors representing – favouring – the views and interests of the few (those seeking an advantage), not the views and interests of the majority.


There are limits on what is acceptable behaviour in all walks of life – Likewise there are also limits on what is acceptable behaviour for a Councillor - if a Councillor wants to be seen to act with propriety.  That is not to say there is impropriety – perception is the hurdle.


We can’t repeat publicly what we hear some people are saying about the character of some councillors at this table.  We can only hope these people say what they think directly to you, so you can understand the way people can react if they think Council is not acting appropriately.  Committing to high standards will reduce such perceptions.


You asked people to trust you when you asked them to vote for you.  The very least you owe your constituents is to pledge in writing to act accountably and to meet standards acceptable to the community.   You can do that by adopting the revised Code, here tonight.


This is perhaps the most important decision you as Councillors will make, and how you vote will say a lot about you as individuals.  MRRA asks that you think very carefully of what is really at stake here, and choose wisely.  Adopting this Code will serve the best interests and be for the greater good of the Council, and the people of Macedon Ranges Shire. 


MRRA urges you to do the right and honourable thing."


Presented by N. Manning (President) and C. Pruneau (Secretary)