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07 October 2020
SIR, – Since my nomination for Horsham Rural City Council, I have been approached by various lobby groups to sign up to their agenda or pledge.
However, it would appear these lobby groups have failed to understand the legal role of a councillor.
These requests might seem innocuous. But phrases such as ‘once elected you will promote and support our priorities, both in your local community and the council workplace’ are troublesome.
The Local Government Act makes it very clear that the council workplace is the legal remit of the chief executive officer.
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So, even if a candidate felt the need to sign any pledge, their role would have no bearing on the way the council workplace functioned.
What happens if a candidate signs the pledge and what is contained in the pledge is not in the best interests of the whole municipality? What happens then?
And, what happens if, after signing the pledge, the councillor votes for the best interests of the community, which runs contrary to the pledge they signed?
Will we find that councillor or council in court for breach of contract? Who knows?
And what about those who choose not to sign? Will lobby groups then target those candidates and infer they are anti-this or that?
Will they be incorrectly vilified because they feel they are obligated to the whole community, no matter how honourable the cause may be?
Again, who knows?
RELATED: Flag pledge plea
The entire October 7, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!