A TENSE build up to Saturday’s council election has prompted a review of the Local Government Act.
Local Government Minister David Templeman said he had been shocked by reports of online bullying and a lack of respect by both candidates and community members.
“I am currently working on a review of the Local Government Act, which includes a code of conduct, but that will only apply to elected members,” he said.
“The behaviour of candidates and community members is something which everyone must work together to improve.”
A record number of candidates – 1388 – have nominated for this year’s local government elections, but Mr Templeman said he was disappointed only 481 were female.
He said just seven of the 46 candidates for popularly-elected mayor or president positions are women.
“While I am absolutely delighted to see that we have a record number of candidates nominating for election and a significant increase in the number of postal votes received to date, I am dismayed about the reports of bullying and the underrepresentation of women,” he said.
“I call on candidates and community members to show more respect in the way in which they are behaving, as trolling and negativity does not attract quality and diverse candidates.
“If we want a vibrant, diverse and quality local government sector, we must ensure that people feel safe, respected and valued when they put themselves forward.”