Terms of Reference and Guidelines
The ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Ministerial Advisory Council provides strategic advice to the ACT Government on issues affecting LGBTIQ communities in the ACT.
The work of the council reflects the aim of the ACT Government that Canberra becomes a socially and culturally inclusive community that celebrates its diversity and makes Canberra the most LGBTIQ-friendly city in Australia. The Council will monitor the progress of achievements towards this objective through consultation with the LGBTIQ community and relevant organisations.
Terms of Reference
The Council is to:
- Undertake research and provide advice on matters referred by the Minister for Community Services or raised through community consultation.
- Identify priorities and develop a work program of actions to advance the interests of LGBTIQ communities.
- Liaise and consult with LGBTIQ communities, service providers and key stakeholders and act as a link between these stakeholders and the ACT Government on relevant issues.
- Disseminate and communicate (in person, electronically or otherwise) information to community interest groups on the business of the Council.
- Seek advice from LGBTIQ communities, obtaining diverse views on existing or proposed law or policy changes developed by the ACT or Commonwealth Government, including how such law or policy may impact the day-to-day lives of community members.
- Establish and maintain cooperative networks with other Ministerial advisory bodies and relevant ACT Government agencies.
- Provide an annual report on the progress of work undertaken by the Council to the Minister for Community Services.
The Council will consist of a minimum of 7 to a maximum of 12 members, excluding the Chair and Deputy Chair. All members, including the positions of Chair and Deputy Chair, will be appointed by the Minister for Community Services.
Composition and Representation
Council members will consist of individuals from the various LGBTIQ communities in the ACT whom satisfy the selection criteria.
The Executive Committee consists of the Chair and the Deputy Chair and is responsible to the Minister for leading the Council in the development and execution of its work program.
The Minister for Community Services may consider the composition of the Council as a whole when selecting members to ensure that the Council represents the broad spectrum of people in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer communities in the ACT. In addition to ensuring that the Council is composed of members who hold knowledge and expertise about each of these communities, the Council will include (where appropriate) people with disabilities, people of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of different ages and from different locations. The Office for Women and the Office for Multicultural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs will be consulted prior to appointments being made.
The selection criteria for the Council are:
- Demonstrated commitment to an inclusive community.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the interests and concerns of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or Queer people and stakeholders, recognising that each member may have particular expertise with one or more specific communities within the LGBTIQ acronym.
- Ability to consult and represent a wide range of views of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or Queer communities in the ACT.
- Commitment to participate fully in Council activities.
- Ability to contribute to Council processes and consultation activities.
Terms of Appointment
Appointments will be for up to 3 years, unless otherwise determined by the Minister for Community Services.
No member may serve more than two terms.
The Council may form sub-committees to undertake specific work and / or co-opt individuals with expertise for particular tasks.
The Minister should aim, where possible, for a 50% rotation of members each term.
The Minister has the power to appoint persons to casual vacancies in accordance with the selection criteria.
Leave of Absence and Apologies
Where a member is unable to attend a meeting, that member should submit an apology to the Secretariat (Community Services Directorate) and the Chair stating the reason for the absence;
Where a member does not submit an apology and does not attend a meeting, they will be recorded as absent;
Proxies and/or observers will not be accepted to replace the absent member;
Members’ terms may be cancelled if they fail to attend 3 consecutive meetings (regardless of whether an apology has been recorded).
Members may apply to the Chair for a Leave of Absence of up to three months from the Council. The Chair may grant any such application if it is permissible within the operational needs of the Council.
Applications for a Leave of Absence for longer than three months must be submitted to the Minister and will be granted at the discretion of the Minister. Where a leave of absence has been granted for more than three months, the Minister may appoint a casual replacement for the duration of the leave granted.
Vacation of Office
Members may resign from the Council at any time provided they notify the Minister for Community Services in writing, stating their intention to resign from the Council, with a copy to the Chair, at least four weeks prior to the date of resignation. The appointment of replacement members is at the discretion of the Minister for Community Services.
Role of the Chair
The role of the Chair is to:
- Act as a public spokesperson for the Council.
- Facilitate orderly and constructive discussions between members on matters within the Council’s Terms of Reference.
- Assist members to work together as a group by facilitating discussion; ensuring all members have equal opportunity to contribute ideas, opinions and concerns; and drawing participation from all members.
- Maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere at Council meetings by encouraging courtesy, respect and openness.
- Ensure that any action required is appropriately assigned.
- The Council is to meet 4-6 times per year. Additional working meetings may be formed if necessary.
- A draft agenda will be developed prior to each meeting by the Secretariat in consultation with the Chair. In developing the agenda, consideration will be given to the references provided from the Minister to the Council. The agenda should have clear objectives that will advance the Council’s work program.
- The agenda and related papers are to be circulated to members no less than one week prior to the meeting.
- Meetings are to be facilitated by the Chair, or in their absence, the Deputy Chair; or in their absence, a member. Whenever possible, decisions of the Council are to be made by consensus, or if consensus cannot be reached, by a majority vote of those members present. Diversity of opinion on issues will be reflected in any advice provided to the Minister.
- A member who abstains from voting or dissents from the majority ruling can request to have their action recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
- At each meeting, Council members are to provide brief reports on consultations they have attended or held and any significant issues arising.
In order for decisions to be made at meetings there is to be a quorum of no less than half the total current number of members plus one.
Unless indicated otherwise, all Council papers, documents and minutes are confidential.
Members may, on occasion, be provided with other confidential material, which they should not disclose to anyone outside the Council and should treat with the utmost care and discretion.
Breach of these confidentiality requirements may result in termination of a member’s appointment, at the discretion of the Minister.
Final documents, minutes and decisions can be made available to the public under the Open Government Policy.
Secretariat support to the Council will be provided by the Community Services Directorate. The Secretariat is responsible for:
- Developing agendas (for Council meetings and other business involving the Directorate and members of the Council) in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chair.
- Assisting Council members to prepare agenda papers and submit business to the Council.
- Distributing the agenda and meeting papers in appropriate formats.
- Taking minutes, clearing them with Council members, revising as needed, producing them in the required format and distributing them, normally within two weeks of a Council meeting.
- Monitoring action items arising from Council business and assisting in their implementation, including liaising between the Council and Government agencies.
- Supporting members to complete paperwork for reimbursement, ensuring information is verified (for example, meetings attended) and submitted to the Secretariat.
- Arranging appropriate venues for meetings held outside Community Services Directorate premises and arranging refreshments for meetings within budget.
Official Business and the Representation of Council Views
The Chair and the Deputy Chair will be deemed to be on Council business when representing the Council at meetings and forums and when attending to the operation of Council and meeting with ACT Government representatives and such other business as may reasonably be required in discharging the Council’s Terms of Reference. The Chair and the Deputy Chair may represent existing Council policy in the public domain, including the media, as needed to discharge the Council’s Terms of Reference.
A member will be deemed to be on official duties:
- While attending meetings of the Council
- While undertaking a task at the request of Council or as a representative of the Minister responsible for Community Services (these tasks could include representing the Council on other committees, working parties and seminars).
Reasonable costs incurred by members during such activities will normally be met by the per diem Community Engagement payment, but can be considered on a case by case basis.
Member(s) on official business outside of meetings are expected to reflect the existing policies of the Council and shall report on the matter to the Council at the meeting following the event or by a report sent to the Council.
Formal speeches and papers to be delivered by a member on behalf of the Council or the Minister; submissions to inquiries and committees; and significant correspondence will be cleared through the Chair prior to their presentation and a copy made available to the Secretariat.
All contact with the media on behalf of the Council should only be by the Chair, or pursuant to explicit delegation from the Chair. Any information to be released to the media on behalf of the Council will need to be cleared through the Chair.
Business Between Meetings
The Chair may write and sign letters and conduct business between meetings on behalf of the Council, and the Secretariat should be provided with copies of all correspondence.
he Chair may delegate these operations to the Deputy Chair (or other members) as needed. All submissions and significant correspondence (for example, a response to a statutory body) should be cleared through the Chair.
Members are expected to advise the Secretariat when they have completed agreed actions arising from previous meetings.
Out of Session Matters
Council may deal with matters out of session.
Where an urgent response is required from Council members between meetings, the Chair must endeavour to alert members to the relevant business via email, text message or other appropriate means, providing a clear timeframe for response.
Where a matter requiring resolution is to be dealt with in an out of session paper, agreement by two thirds of Council members is required for assent.
Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct
Conflict of interest is defined as any instance where a Council member has a direct financial or other interest in matters under consideration or proposed for consideration by the Council.
Council members are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, including honesty, courtesy, fairness and conflict of interest, as outlined in:
- the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct (October 2012)
- the ACT Government Boards and Committees Handbook (2009)
A member must disclose to the Chair any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest, a potential conflict of interest, or a potential perceived conflict of interest. The Chair will make the determination whether there are adequate grounds for excluding a member from any related discussion or decision making regarding a conflict of interest issue.
Conflicts of interest that may be sufficient to justify the termination of a member’s appointment must be considered by the Minister. In such a situation, the Chair has the power to suspend the person’s membership until the Minister’s agreement is obtained.
The Minister retains the discretion to terminate a member’s appointment to the Council upon notice of not less than four weeks for reasons including breach of confidentiality, breach of attendance requirements, failure to disclose a conflict of interest and/or breach of the Code of Conduct.
Remuneration of Expense
From commencement of the council, the Chair will be paid at a rate determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal per diem.
The Deputy Chair and members will be able to access a $50 Community Engagement payment, to a maximum of 6 claims per member per annum. The Deputy Chair or members acting in the role of the Chair will be eligible for the Remuneration Payment per diem. Payments will be coordinated by the Secretariat.
Reimbursement is in recognition of the work undertaken by members of the Council to fulfil its role. Members are expected to actively contribute to the work of the Council, including: supporting the Chair and Deputy Chair; taking part in community consultations and other business; maintaining links with the community; and acting in accordance with the provisions of these Guidelines. The Community Engagement Payment Policy and claim forms are available from the Council Secretariat.
ACT LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council
Community Services Directorate
Address:GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6205 0743
Fax: (02) 6207 5862
Member Governance Charter
This Charter operates in conjunction with the Council’s Formal Terms of Reference.
Members acknowledge that they are appointed as individuals, not organisational representatives, and that they are individually accountable for adhering to the charter set out below.
Respect and Courtesy in all Dealings
Members must be respectful in all their dealings with other Members, the Secretariat and any individuals with whom they come into contact with through their Council role. All members agree to maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere at Council meetings by encouraging courtesy, respect and openness.
Members acknowledge that unless otherwise indicated, all Council papers and minutes are confidential. From time to time, Council may decide that certain information will be marked for release. Such decisions must be minuted. Because of their Council role Members may, on occasion, be provided with other confidential material, which they should not disclose outside of the Council and should treat with the utmost care and discretion.
Conflicts of Interest
Members must disclose to the Chair any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest, a potential conflict of interest, or a potential perceived conflict of interest. The Chair will make a determination as to whether there are adequate grounds for excluding a member from any related discussion or decision–making process.
Members note that at meetings, decisions may only be made when there is a quorum of no less than half the total current members plus one.
Where a member is unable to attend a meeting, that member must submit a timely apology to the Secretariat stating the reason for their absence.
Council may deal with some matters out of session. Where an urgent response is required from Council members between meetings, the Chair must endeavour to alert members to the relevant business via email, text message or other appropriate means, providing a clear timeframe for response. Members agree, where possible, to respond within this timeframe, at a minimum confirming that they have received the correspondence and preferably providing feedback or a ‘nil comment’ response.
All contact with the media on behalf of the Council should be by the Chair, or pursuant to explicit delegation from the Chair. Any information to be released to the media on behalf of the Council must be cleared through the Chair.
Government policy on boards and committees seeks to achieve and maintain 50% representation of women on all government boards and committees, and also increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people with a disability, persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and community organisations’, ACT Government Boards and Committees Handbook 2009