Government and Political Engagement Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 14 May 2013 and incorporates all amendments to 21 January 2014.

Section 2 - Purpose

(2) To establish the University's position in relation to engagement with government, political parties, politicians and their representatives.

Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all University staff and associates.

Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University recognises the importance of government relations, including all contact in the course of business with governments. By contributing to public political dialogue, the University contributes to the development of sound legislation and regulation that is relevant and appropriate to its business interests and fosters its development as a learning institution.

(5) The University encourages its staff to exercise fully the rights of citizenship, including participation in public political dialogue and political life. Staff members can expect the support of the University in their participation in the political process so long as they do so in their personal capacity as community members and the University is not implicated in any way in such participation, endorsement or association.

(6) The University is committed to transparency consistent with good governance and the highest ethical standards. University business is conducted with integrity, openness and probity, and in compliance with relevant local laws, regulations and international standards.

(7) The University shall not directly or indirectly participate in partisan party political activities nor make payments to political parties, individual politicians or their representatives. The University or its official representatives shall not endorse political parties or their individual politicians.

(8) University staff members must not provide any University funding towards political parties or their representatives or utilise University equipment (including email and social media accounts) in a manner that offers or may be seen to offer benefit to political parties or their individual politicians.

(9) The University shall not make direct or indirect payment or reimbursement of costs incurred by University representatives to attend a party political function - e.g. such as luncheons, dinners, galas or other events - organised for party political purposes such as campaigning or fundraising.

(10) University staff members must not use University funds for paid attendance at party political functions, such as those aimed at fundraising or other lobbying.

(11) The University prohibits the offer of gifts, hospitality or expenses to government or party political representatives to ensure neither the violation of laws nor the compromise or the appearance of compromise of the individuals involved or the University in any way.

(12) The University shall limit gifts and entertainment that University staff may receive from government representatives (see Acceptance of Gifts Policy).

(13) The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor or their nominated representatives in their capacity as representatives of the University may attend party political functions at the invitation of political parties or their members or individual politicians. Such attendance will be in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

(14) University staff members may attend party political functions at the invitation of political parties or their members or individual politicians so long they do so in their capacity as private citizens and take all necessary steps to ensure their attendance is not deemed to represent the University. Such attendance will be in accordance with the Code of Conduct .

(15) Deakin Advancement may identify and cultivate relationships with prospective donors who serve as members of Government during the time the University is pursuing a philanthropic relationship with them. Donations to the University are by definition without material benefit to the donor. The Chief Advancement Officer will resolve any question of adequacy or appropriateness of a donation and bears ultimate responsibility for the authority to accept or decline a donation.

(16) The University may allow governments and their representatives the use of University facilities for the conduct of meetings or functions where such functions are pertinent to the learning and/or business objectives of the University. No commercial or political benefit shall be afforded nor perceived to be afforded the University, the government or its representatives.

(17) Candidates for political office may speak on campus at the invitation of the University or organisations affiliated with the University so long as:

  1. the University provides equal speaking opportunities to political candidates seeking the same office
  2. the University is not indicated as being in support of or opposition to the candidate
  3. no political fundraising occurs
  4. the appearance is a speech, a forum or symposium, or a similar format typical of an educational activity at an academic institution.

(18) University staff members may use University facilities for educational activities involving political candidates provided the appearance fosters the University's development as a learning institution.

(19) Candidates for political office may visit campus without an invitation at events open to the public, but fund-raising is not permitted.

(20) Recognised student bodies may use University facilities for partisan political purposes or for political forums or symposia but fundraising is not permitted.

(21) In accordance with the Academic Freedom Policy, the University recognises and values the tenets of academic freedom as central to its endeavours in scholarship, teaching and research and is committed to its promotion and protection within the University. It supports the right of its scholars to engage in critical inquiry and robust and unfettered critical debate which extends to engagement with the political process as long as they make it plain they do not represent the views of the University.

Section 5 - Procedure

(22) There is no attendant procedure.

Section 6 - Definitions

(23) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Associates: contractors, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.