Councillors can hold Federal seat

TWEED Shire councillor and former mayor Joan van Lieshout faces no impediment to remaining a councillor if she is elected to Federal Parliament, according to senior council staff.

Cr van Lieshout confirmed earlier this week she would nominate as a Liberal party candidate for the Federal seat of Richmond, challenging sitting Labor Member and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.

Cr van Lieshout said she intended to stay on as a councillor even if elected, raising questions from some readers if that was legally possible.

According to the council’s Technology and Corporate Services director Troy Green “on the face of it, there is nothing in the Local Government Act that precludes a councillor from being a Federal member”.

“Several councillors throughout the country hold positions in local and state government, so there are certainly precedents.”

According to a report compiled by political researcher Dr Ian Holland while State and Federalpublic servants are not eligible to stand for Parliament “no- one is sure whether local councillors are affected”.

He said because councillors were not appointed by government “but elected under a system estab- lished by legislation ... they hold office not at the discretion of the executive, but as a result of elections held under acts of the state parliaments”.

“This may mean they are not ‘under the crown’ – a definition which would prevent them holding both positions.



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