A formal complaint has been lodged against Lynch, alleging potential breaches of the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2020.
The complaint, submitted to the Office of the Registrar, raises pressing questions about the integrity and governance of key members within the NSWALC, which you can view below.
Nicole Courtman, Interim Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
Tony Sutherland, Office of the Registrar (ALRA)
Rochelle Coggan, Aboriginal Affairs
Complaint | NSWALC Council | Councillor Charles Lynch | Enquiry
I am formally lodging a complaint regarding potential misconduct by Councillor Charles Lynch of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) because I believe there’s a potential breach of both the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) and the prescribed Code of Conduct from the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2020.
Evidence of Misrepresentation:
- Councillor Charles Lynch’s Correspondence: In his letter to me dated and signed on the 24th August 2023 (ironically, the day before I sent an informal GIPA request to NSWALC on the 25th of August) but was emailed to me on the 29 August 2023, Councillor Lynch explicitly states that “NSWALC is the largest member based Aboriginal organisation in NSW,” which appears to be a misleading representation of the actual membership structure as defined in ALRA section 120.
- Historical Claims by NSWALC: Over the years, NSWALC has made similar misleading representations in various media outlets and a few notable examples include articles in Daily Telegraph and their own website.
Potential Misconduct and Code of Conduct Reference:
Citing the prescribed Code of Conduct in Schedule 4:
- Clause 2(1) suggests councillors should observe the highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour. Councillor Lynch’s potential propagation of misleading information may not align with these standards.
- Clause 2(2) requires councillors to uphold the objectives of NSWALC and abide by the ALRA. Misrepresenting the NSWALC’s membership might not uphold these objectives.
- Clause 2(4) emphasises that councillors should avoid conduct that detracts from NSWALC’s reputation. By potentially disseminating misleading information, Councillor Lynch’s actions could harm the Council’s standing.
- Clause 2(5) mandates complete probity, honesty, and diligence in councillor duties. If Councillor Lynch was aware of the true membership structure yet promoted misleading information, this could signal a lack of honesty.
- Clause 2(6) underscores the need to safeguard the interests of the NSWALC and avoid being party to any unethical activity. Promoting misleading representations may not safeguard these interests and could be perceived as unethical.
Potential Impact and Importance of Transparency:
Misrepresentations, especially from elected officials, can erode public trust, affect potential funding or support, and sway policy decisions.
For NSWALC, any erosion of trust can have significant implications for the communities they represent.
Conclusion and Request for Investigation:
I urge the Registrar to initiate an investigation into Councillor Charles Lynch’s potential misconduct.
Upholding transparency, honesty, and the highest standards of conduct is paramount for the betterment and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
I genuinely hope this detailed complaint is taken in the spirit intended, emphasising the need for accurate representation and ethical conduct.
Founder and CEO, Barayamal
Email: [email protected]
Specific clauses from the Code of Conduct in Schedule 4 that Councillor Charles Lynch may have potentially breached:
Clause 2(1): The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council requires its councillors to observe the highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour in all of their activities.
- Potential Breach: By potentially spreading misleading information about the NSWALC’s membership, Councillor Lynch may not have observed the “highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour.”
Clause 2(2): Councillors must uphold the objectives of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and abide by the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and associated legislation, as well as policies and procedures established by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
- Potential Breach: Misrepresenting the NSWALC’s membership could be viewed as not upholding the objectives of the NSWALC, especially if it leads to mistrust or confusion among the public or the communities the NSWALC serves.
Clause 2(4): Councillors must refrain from conduct or action that detracts from the reputation of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
- Potential Breach: By potentially misrepresenting the membership of the NSWALC, Councillor Lynch’s actions could have detracted from the Council’s reputation, especially if members of the public or the Aboriginal community view this as misleading or deceptive.
Clause 2(5): Councillors are required to exercise complete probity, honesty and diligence in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
- Potential Breach: If Councillor Lynch was aware of the true membership structure and yet continued to promote the misleading information, this could be seen as a lack of honesty in carrying out his duties.
Clause 2(6): Councillors must at all times safeguard the interests of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and Local Aboriginal Land Councils and their members, provided that councillors must not knowingly be party to any illegal or unethical activity.
- Potential Breach: Misleading representations may not safeguard the interests of the NSWALC, and being party to disseminating such information might be considered unethical.