Code of Conduct

Purpose 

This document sets out the Code of Conduct that governs the way that members of the Truth Justice and Healing Council conduct themselves when discharging their duties as Council members. 

CODE OF CONDUCT 

The document is based on the understanding that the core ethical principles that guide the work of the Council are those of respect, justice and duty to the victims of child sexual abuse. 

The Code of Conduct also provides guidance to Council members about situations that may arise involving conflicts of interest. 

Background 

Following the establishment of a Royal Commission into the way that institutions across Australia have responded to complaints of child sexual abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) established the Council. 

The Council was established in recognition of the importance of the Royal Commission and the imperative for the Church to address the past openly and honestly. The formation of the Council allows the Church to speak with one voice before the Royal Commission representing the numerous organisations that make up the Church. 

The Council provides independent advice to the ACBC and CRA, through a Supervisory Group, which is comprised of the Permanent Committee of the ACBC and representatives of CRA. 

Code of conduct 

For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, a conflict of interest arises where there is an actual, potential or perceived divergence between the individual private interests of a Council member and his or her duties that flow from appointment to the Council, such that an independent observer might reasonably question that the Council member’s conduct may be influenced by his or her own private interests or personal circumstances. 

In fulfilling their duties, members of the Council commit to conducting themselves in the following way: 

1. Honesty 

 Council members have a duty to act honestly and in good faith in the pursuit of the best interests of the objectives of the Council. They must declare any private interests relating to their duties as members of the Council and take steps to resolve any conflicts of interest in such a way that protects the interests of the Council. Truth Justice and Healing Council PO Box 4593 KINGSTON ACT 2604 | Tel: +61 2 6234 0900 | Fax: +61 2 6234 0999 

2. Integrity 

Council members must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to any individual or organisation that might reasonably be thought to influence them in the performance of their duties. 

3. Avoiding actual or perceived conflicts of interest 

In the discharge of his or her duties as a member of the Council, the member must avoid all actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest. 

4. Not using information to obtain advantage 

A Council member must not use information obtained in the course of his or her duties as a Council member to gain directly or indirectly a pecuniary advantage for himself or herself or for any other person. 

5. Confidentiality 

A Council member must respect the confidentiality of any material that is acquired in the course of his or her duties as a Council member 

6. Leadership 

Council members must promote and support the work of the Council by leadership and example and must seek to maintain and strengthen the community’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the Council. 

7. Accountability 

Council members are accountable for their decisions and actions and must consider issues on their merits, taking into account the views of others. They must ensure that decisions of the Council are properly recorded and kept. 

Management of conflicts of interest 

The onus is on individual Council members to manage any conflicts or perceived conflicts of interest by identifying the conflict and taking appropriate action to avoid or manage the conflict in favour of the duty that arises from appointment to the Council. 

Where an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest arises, the Council member must declare the conflict as soon as possible and may determine to: 

 abstain from discussion by the Council on a particular matter; 

 absent him or herself from all Council discussions relating to the matter; or 

 step down from membership of the Council until such time as the matter is resolved. 

Should circumstances change after an initial disclosure has been made, so that new or additional facts become material, the Council member should disclose the further information.

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