- Public sector employees are not permitted to engage in party political activities whilst on duty.
- Attachment containing frequently asked questions addresses the legislative and policy issues arising for employees contesting elections, including the difference between nomination and pre selection as a candidate.
- Public sector employees are required to resign to contest the election.
- The resignation must take effect before a public sector employee nominates as a candidate.
- If not elected, a public sector employee may seek reappointment if they do so within two months of the declaration of the election results.
- Public sector employees are required to resign only when elected.
- If nominated as a candidate, a public sector employee may apply for and be granted a leave of absence until the election is declared.
Local government elections
- Public sector employees are not required to resign to either contest an election or even when elected.
Attachment: Contesting elections – frequently asked questions. (B2013_002)
Public sector employees are expected to be aware of and comply with the ethical obligations that arise as well as any legislative requirement affecting their employment if they intend to stand as a candidate in an election at any level of Government.
‘Contesting elections – frequently asked questions’ addresses the legislative and policy issues arising where a public sector employee wishes to contest an election at any level of government. The document also describes the differences between nomination and pre selection as a candidate.
The legislative provisions in the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 for resignation and reappointment in Federal elections (section 103) and leave of absence in State elections (section 102) apply to all public sector agencies including State Owned Corporations.
Code of Conduct and Ethical Framework
The Model Code of Conduct for NSW Public Sector Employees (Chapter 8 of the Personnel Handbook issued by the Public Service Commission) and section 10 of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Public Sector Executives (issued June 1998) make reference to political participation. In particular the Model Code of Conduct states:
“Employees must make sure that any participation in party political activities does not conflict with their primary duty as a public employee to serve the government of the day in a politically neutral manner.”
The public sector core values in Part 1.2 of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 require public servants to “Provide apolitical and non-partisan advice”.
Public sector employees are not permitted to engage in activities of a party political nature whilst on duty. Any candidate or person intending to stand should also ensure that, when making any political comments whilst not on duty, they are not identified in any way as acting or speaking in their capacity as a public sector employee.
Public sector employees should also consider any specific provisions of their agency’s Code of Conduct affecting employment.
The general obligations on public sector employees contesting elections are:
- Avoid conflicts of interest;
- Avoid misuse of official information or resources;
- Make no party political comment whilst on duty; and
- Undertake duties in a politically neutral manner.
Graeme Head, Public Service Commissioner and Chris Eccles, Director General, Department of Premier and Cabinet
Who needs to know and/or comply with this?
- Executive agencies related to Departments
- Advisory Entities (including Boards and Committees)
- Separate agencies
- State Owned Corporations
- Statutory Authorities/Bodies
- Date Issued
- May 29, 2013
- Review Date
- Mar 31, 2020
- Replaced By
- Publishing Entity
- Public Service Commission
- Issuing Entity
- Public Service Commissioner