NSWALC Election: Convention for the Caretaker Period 2011

17 June, 2011


Convention for the Caretaker Period

during the NSWALC Election 2011


A number of conventions have evolved in the conduct of elected representative bodies to govern the conduct of their electoral processes.

These "caretaker" conventions cover the conduct of elected representatives and staff in the period immediately leading up to elections and continue through to the commission of a new elected body.

This caretaker convention sets out a series of principles to provide guidance to Councillors and NSWALC staff about activities they may, and may not undertake, during the campaign period preceding the election of members to the Governing Council of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council on August 6, 2011.

As a general rule, no significant new decisions or initiatives, appointments or contractual undertakings should be made by an elected Council during the caretaker period.

Routine Council business, however, should proceed as usual.

This convention also sets out a range of principles which are designed to ensure that NSWALC resources are not misused for individual political purposes and to ensure the political neutrality of NSWALC staff during the lead up to the election.

They should be observed by all Councillors, candidates and NSWALC staff during the forthcoming caretaker period which is defined within the body of this convention.

Should a member of NSWALC nominate for election to the NSWALC Council than they are required to take leave when they nominate, all staff must ensure that they follow this advice.


The broad principles which will govern the activities of Councillors and all NSWALC staff during the caretaker period are as follows.

  • No NSWALC funds are to be used for individual campaigning purposes.
  • No NSWALC staff member can provide any services which relate to individual campaign purposes.
  • NSWALC's Governing Council should not make any financial/political commitments or decisions which may bind the incoming Council beyond those flowing from the Ministerially approved budget estimates for the 2010-11 financial year.

Definition of Caretaker Period

  • For the purpose of this convention, the caretaker period for NSWALC Councillors starts from the day nominations open Friday, June 17 2011.
  • The caretaker period ends on the declaration of the poll on Thursday 11th August 2011.

Specific Requirements for Elected Representatives and Staff.

  • Members of NSWALC's Governing Council continue to remain in office until the new Council is formally declared 11th August 2011.
  • As democratically elected representatives, it is proper that Councillors campaign for re-election should they decide to do so. However, Councillors must ensure they do not use any NSWALC funds or resources in any way to assist their own personal campaigns, or those of any other candidate.
  • Councillors, or any other candidate, must not request NSWALC staff to undertake any activities during this period which could assist a candidate in his/her personal political campaigning.

Specific Requirements for NSWALC Staff.

  • NSWALC staff, including Councillor Support Officers, will continue to perform their normal duties and activities during the caretaker period, subject to the requirement not to provide assistance in any way that might support the political campaign of any candidate.
  • NSWALC staff are entitled to stand as candidates for a position on NSWALC's Governing Council.
  • Where a NSWALC employee decides to nominate they should notify their immediate supervisor of their intention as soon as practicable.
  • A NSWALC employee is required to take Annual Leave or Leave Without Pay, or a combination of both, in such circumstances, from the date of nomination i.e. when they nominate..
  • The Employee must be absent on leave throughout the election period and take great care not to use any NSWALC resources (computers, cars etc) for individual campaign purposes, rely on any advice or administrative support from any other NSWALC employee, and not seek to use specific knowledge or information gained during their NSWALC employment to seek an unfair advantage on other candidates.
  • A NSWALC employee who is considering nominating for election to NSWALC's Governing Council is expected to continue to perform normal duties up to the lodgement of his/her nomination form.
  • All NSWALC staff must ensure that the administrative arm of the organisation remains impartial at all times, but particularly during the caretaker/election period.
  • Any staff member found to be electioneering on behalf of themselves, or for any other candidate, or against any candidate will be subject to a disciplinary process.

NSWALC Resources Must Not Be Used for Individual Campaign Purposes.

  • As noted above it is proper, as democratically elected representatives, for current Councillors to campaign for re-election should they seek to do so. However, in doing so, they must take great care to ensure they should not claim to speak for or act on behalf of NSWALC during the caretaker period.
  • They must not use NSWALC funds or resources in any way to assist their own personal or political purposes, or those of any other candidate, or against any other candidate.

For Example:

  • Material promoting the individual political aspirations of Councillors or candidates must not be displayed in any NSWALC office or on NSWALC-owned vehicles. This includes any offices or vehicles provided by NSWALC for Councillors or staff.
  • Councillors/candidates may not use NSWALC telephones, fax machines, computers, photocopiers, paper supplies or any other equipment or resource for personal or campaign purposes.
  • No NSWALC funds should be used to produce or distribute any material which seeks to promote or assist a Councillor/candidate in his/her campaign for election or re-election.

Where it is necessary or desirable for general information on the activities of NSWALC elected representatives to be promoted during the caretaker period great care should be taken to ensure this material:

  • Be seen to promote the role and policies of NSWALC as a whole, rather than the activities of a particular person (candidate).

NSWALC Meetings During the Caretaker Period.

  • During the election period, meetings of NSWALC's Governing Council may be held to discuss normal Council business, including ongoing funding issues and the preparation of status reports and incoming briefs for a new Council.
  • Councillors should also continue to do whatever is necessary during the Caretaker period to maintain NSWALC's agreed commitment to engage with external Board and commitments and to meet its obligations under any pre-existing agreements.
  • However, commitments to any new agreements or initiatives should be deferred during this period pending the decision of a new Council

NSWALC Staff To Promote Election.

  • NSWALC's Media and Marketing Unit will be responsible for the management, co-ordination and implementation of an Information and Awareness Campaign for the NSWALC Election
  • To avoid duplication and confusion, all general advertising and media components of the election must be cleared through the Media and Marketing Unit.
  • However, All NSWALC staff have a clear obligation, if requested, to provide general information promoting the participation of LALC voting members in the NSWALC election process.
  • As all staff would be aware the NSW Electoral Office and NSWALC have an agreement on the conduct of such elections with a clear demarcation between their respective roles.
  • NSWALC's Media and Marketing Unit will be responsible for the WHY component of the campaign (i..e. seeking to maximise the turnout of LALC voting members.)
  • The Electoral Commission is responsible for organising and promoting the HOW aspect of the vote.
  • While NSWALC staff cannot assist any candidate's individual campaign they should provide general information to LALC members (voting members and potential voting members) about the election process in a general sense---that is, informing LALC members about all relevant dates (close of rolls, opening and close of nominations, election date, locations of polling booths etc) and encouraging participation in the election, if requested.
  • All contact in this regard should be reported as soon as is practicable to Media and Marketing Unit to ensure proper co-ordination of promotional effort.
  • All questions on the general mechanics of the election should be referred to the NSW Electoral Commission with any queries on membership rolls referred to the Office of the Registrar of the ALRA.
  • It is imperative, however, that staff do not advise or encourage any persons as to who to vote for or discuss any political issues around the election campaign

Process for Reporting Breaches

  • In circumstances where it is considered a Councillor or staff member has breached any of the principles outlined in this convention, the matter should be immediately reported to NSWALC's Chief Executive Officer, his Executive Officer, or the NSWALC Director of Governance so that the matter can be promptly investigated and, if necessary, appropriate action taken.
  • If any Councillor/candidate or staff member is in any doubt as to any of the activities they should or should not perform during the caretaker period contact should be made with their immediate supervisor or the NSWALC Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Geoff Scott or Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lesley Turner.

*It should be noted that Local Aboriginal Land Councils are autonomous bodies and therefore, cannot be bound by the principles set out in this document, but it is recommended that LALC's should consider the adoption of similar processes for LALC Board members and their staff should observe these principles during the NSWALC election process.

Geoff Scott

Chief Executive Officer 





Publish Notice of election:

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Close rolls:

Noon, Friday 27 May 2011

List of electors to be certified by the CEO of Local Aboriginal Land Councils and sent to the Registrar - Aboriginal Land Rights Act:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Certified copy of the roll sent to the Electoral Commissioner by the Registrar - Aboriginal Land Rights Act:

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Publish Notice calling for nominations:

Friday, 17 June 2011

Close nominations:

Noon, Tuesday 12 July 2011

Publish Notice of contested election:

Friday, 15 July 2011

Elector Brochure sent to all electors:

Monday, 18 July 2010

Close Postal Vote Applications:

Friday, 29 July 2011

Election Day:

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Declaration of Poll:

Thursday, 11 August 2011


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.