Dorset Council mayor Greg Howard has cast doubt on whether the state government's proposed changes to the Local Government Code of Conduct Framework go far enough.
The government's report, released on Monday, outlined a number of ways the code of conduct process could be improved, including a feasibility study regarding the transfer of the code of conduct framework to the jurisdiction of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
After concerns were raised over the types of complaints being investigated, and their costs, the government conducted consultations with the Local Government Association of Tasmania to discuss ways of improving the code of conduct framework.
Twenty eight submissions were received as part of the review process, from across the local government sector, community members and government agencies.
However, Cr Howard said he did not believe the government was "really serious about it".
"The problem now is that members of the public can attack councillors in sometimes an obscene and abhorrent manner through social media, emails and the press, and tell all sorts of lies and councillors can't defend themselves," Mayor Howard said.
"If they do defend themselves then the people who made the initial statements claim they've been offended, and the code of conduct panel members cannot work it out that councillors need to be able to defend themselves.
"Until they take the community out of part seven of the code of conduct, so that community members cannot lodge a code of conduct complaint, the safety of councillors and the safety of staff will always be at risk."
Cr Howard said he was worried lip service was being paid to the process, but with no real bite to the changes.
"I've had nine code of conduct complaints against me - six have been dismissed outright, the seventh was dismissed on appeal, one was upheld and the other is currently on appeal.
"I'm not on social media, but people tell me what's on there. Some of the posts and emails that I get are some of the most obscene correspondence that you would ever see. Not only obscene, but threatening and defamatory."
City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said his council was supportive of the changes.
"Having a single, consistent process across all councils and a dispute resolution process for less serious matters would be a sensible and practical outcome," he said.
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