Conduct of Council Elections Policy
The James Cook University Act 1997 (the Act), establishes a governing body, Council, with Membership Classes including the Elected Members class and prescribes that the Council must make a policy about the conduct of elections required under the Act.
The intent of this policy is to satisfy the requirements of the new Division 3C: Council Elections, within Part 2: The University and its Council, which was introduced into the Act on 13 October 2017 concurrently with the repeal of Statute No. 2 – Conduct of Council Elections. It is also aimed at ensuring the public accessibility of the election policy, the integrity and security of the voting system and the openness and transparency of the election process.
This policy applies to the conduct of elections required under sections 22F and 22O of the Act. It does not apply to appointments made by the Council to fill a casual vacancy in accordance with sub-section 22O(2), (4) or (6) of the Act.
The Elected Members consist of the following sub-classes:
(a) members of the academic staff of the University;
(b) members of the professional and technical staff of the University; and
Whilst this policy applies principally to the returning officer, it also provides guidance to those persons belonging to the sub-classes listed above as well as to those other officers of the University who are engaged in the election processes.
Academic staff of the University - for the purposes of this policy, includes:
(a) the University’s teaching and research staff, other than research assistants (research workers); and
(b) staff of the University whose instrument of appointment states they are members of the academic staff; and excludes:
- those persons who are not on a current contract
- those persons who are on sick leave or suspended
- those persons who are not employed directly by the University (eg JCU Brisbane and JCU Singapore)
Ballot paper - includes a postal ballot paper and an electronic voting form.
Day - means a calendar day
Eligible elector - means the following persons in respect of each membership sub-class:
- academic staff
- professional and technical staff
Eligible nominee - means the following persons in respect of each membership sub-class, as defined:
- academic staff
- professional and technical staff
Mailing address - includes an electronic mailing address.
Policy means the University’s Conduct of Council Elections Policy which, for the purposes of complying with Section 26AA of the James Cook University Act 1997 shall include the provisions contained in the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
Procedure - means the University’s Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
Professional and technical staff of the University - for the purposes of this policy, includes the staff of the University other than its academic staff.
Returning officer - means the Secretary to Council.
Scrutineers - mean the persons appointed by the Chancellor to oversee the conduct of the secret ballot and to certify the results of an election
Students - mean, for the purposes of this policy, those persons who are currently admitted in a course of study offered through JCU Australia (excluding JCU Singapore and JCU Brisbane) and have not been declared “absent without leave” nor granted a “leave of absence” and whose admission for that course has neither lapsed, nor been cancelled, nor subject to a deferral.
The Act - means the James Cook University Act 1997.
The University - means the James Cook University.
- Conduct of election
- All elections to which this policy applies must be conducted by the returning officer.
- In the conduct of an election, the returning officer must have regard to the Act and provisions within this Policy and the Conduct of Council Elections – Procedure.
- Subject to the Act and this policy, the returning officer’s decision on all matters affecting an election will be final.
- Mode of election
- The returning officer must determine the manner in which an election is to be conducted.
- Elections must be held by postal ballot or by electronic ballot.
- At each election the voting must be conducted by secret ballot.
- Dates and times applying to elections
The returning officer must determine the date and time or period over which an election is held, the day by which nominations must be made, and the day by which the results must be published in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
- Notice of election
The returning officer must publish a notice of election in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
Nominations of an eligible nominee must be made in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
- Determination of the requirement for a ballot
The returning officer, after determining the valid nominations, must take appropriate action to either:
- declare the nominated candidates duly elected without conducting a ballot; and/or
- notify the Minister of the failure to elect enough elected members; or
- conduct a ballot under the Policy and Procedure;
- Integrity and security of the voting system
The returning officer must establish and maintain an electoral roll in respect of each membership sub-class to ensure only persons who are eligible to vote may vote.
The voting system must ensure that:
- a person cannot vote more than once in an election;
- voting is done by secret ballot;
- a person is not improperly influenced in voting.
- Appointment of scrutineers (16)
Scrutineers must be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
- Procedure for voting
The procedure for voting must be made in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
- Confidentiality of votes cast
No person may disclose, or aid in disclosing, the voting preferences of an elector who has cast a vote.
- Declaration and publication of result of election
Following the determination of the result of the election, the returning officer must declare the result of the election in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Election Procedures.
- Election not invalidated
An election is not invalidated by reason of the following:
- an inadvertent failure to send an eligible elector any notice or ballot paper;
- a procedural irregularity, provided that the irregularity is minor and does not prejudice the fairness of the election process.
- Delegation of authority by returning officer
The returning officer may authorise an appropriately qualified person to carry out all or any of the administrative functions on behalf of the returning officer.
- Making and resolving complaints
All complaints shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Conduct of Council Elections Procedure.
Related policy instruments
Related documents and legislation
NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.
Date for next Major Review (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)
Approval date - the date the approval authority approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment
Implementation Date - the date the policy was published in the Policy Library and is the date the policy takes effect
Election, Council Election