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Code of Conduct - Staff

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) At Charles Darwin University, we value fairness and promote respect, integrity, professionalism, accountability and equality of opportunity. Our Staff Code of Conduct exemplifies these values and provides guidance for staff to recognise and practise these values to shape our culture.

(2) Our Staff Code of Conduct is aligned with the University Strategic Plan. Our unique location and our professional contribution across the Northern Territory define our opportunities and challenges in tertiary education delivery and in the applied research, we undertake. We hold the responsibility of meeting the needs of a diverse, small and widely dispersed population, with a high proportion of Indigenous Australians in the context of distinctive yet challenging physical environments.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) The Staff Code of Conduct articulates and supports the expectation of Charles Darwin University that all staff will adhere to the highest standards in their conduct and behaviour in relation to both their work practices and the University.

(4) All University staff are expected to perform their work with respect to the minimum standards and obligations outlined in this code, and carry out their duties ethically, efficiently and fairly.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) The Staff Code of Conduct applies to all staff at all levels of the University and to honorary appointees, volunteers, members of Council and others who may be engaged with or represent the interests of the University.

(6) The Code applies also to clients, colleagues and partners engaged in employment or partnerships with the University on campus, in University online environments and social media, or in external locations when representing the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(7) Staff are expected to conform their personal and professional behaviour to the standards that could reasonably be expected of persons in such positions. This includes commitment to:

  1. professional standards and conduct in teaching, research, administration and community involvement
  2. ethical principles and values as defined in the University’s statements of vision, mission and values;
  3. the promotion of the rights of staffs and students within the University;
  4. promotion of the University’ interests and enhancing its reputation;
  5. ensuring that academic needs of students are met; and
  6. creating an environment that supports success through learning and knowledge.

The Code

(8) All Charles Darwin University staff are required to comply with relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation as well as the policies and rules of the University.


(9) We value fairness characterised by openness and impartiality in the conduct of our study and work in decision-making and in supporting and attracting staff and students. Fairness is exercised in compliance with legislation and regulations, and is also demonstrated through mutual respect, constructive interpersonal relationships and honest communication.

(10) We will act with fairness in all our dealings through, for example:

  1. transparency and natural justice in processes that affect others;
  2. impartiality in decision making, including in relation to staff attraction and recruitment;
  3. communication of the rationale for decisions to relevant staff, students, clients or partners;
  4. sharing and providing information that is accurate, complete and timely;
  5. equitable treatment of others in our dealings with staff, students, clients and partners at all levels;
  6. supporting and accommodating the needs of others who may be living with a disability or other disadvantage; and
  7. committing to a workplace and study environment that is free from bullying and harassment.


(11) We value respectful and polite conduct. We demonstrate consideration and regard for the rights, privacy and feelings of others, and for the differences across cultural backgrounds, beliefs and abilities.

(12) We will act with respect for others through, for example:

  1. courtesy in all forms of communication between staff, students, clients and partners – be it in person, in writing or through electronic or social media;
  2. consideration and inclusion of the views of others;
  3. valuing difference among our staff, students, clients and partners;
  4. observance and promotion of the rights of staff and students;
  5. responsiveness and timeliness in dealing with the requests and requirements of others engaged in study, teaching, research and administration;
  6. exercising care and probity in the use of the University’s property and resources, including equipment, financial resources, trademarks, copyright and any other property;
  7. sustaining the University’s social, physical and natural environments through responsible planning and management of resources;
  8. personal presentation that is appropriate and respectful of the expectations of others;
  9. maintaining physical and emotional distance between staff and students;
  10. avoiding intimate personal relationships when engaged in an academic manner (such as teaching or supervision) with students; and
  11. respecting personal and professional privacy in our conversations.

Integrity and Professionalism

(13) We value integrity and professionalism in our activities and across academic, teaching and management functions. Professionalism is characterised by competency, skill, quality service delivery, and the expectation that staff will conduct their duties in a responsible and conscientious manner.

(14) We will promote integrity and professionalism through:

  1. ethical and professional conduct consistent with our policies and the requirements of accreditation agencies;
  2. modelling academic integrity and ethical practice in learning, teaching and research;
  3. trust, which is modelled by responsibility, consistency and maintaining confidentiality;
  4. honesty and openness in communication and actions, ensuring that information is conveyed in a timely manner;
  5. mindfulness of the reputation of the University when commenting publicly in formal settings (such as media interviews), as well as in informal settings (such as through the use of social media);
  6. respect for the confidentiality of information held by the University;
  7. commitment to ensuring that all actions are free from any conflict of interest, and commitment to disclosing interests where conflict may arise or reasonably be perceived by others;
  8. full-time staff seeking approval to engage in any outside employment, or volunteer activities, from the appropriate approving authority, and all staff not accepting outside employment where it may cause a direct or indirect conflict with their duties or otherwise adversely impact the conduct of University operations;
  9. should an intimate personal relationship between a staff member and a student develop, then declaring this as a conflict of interest to the relevant senior manager;
  10. avoiding exploitative, coercive, unnecessary and unwelcome behaviour to others, especially students and others with whom you are academically engaged; and
  11. awareness of relevant legislation and adherence to University policies and procedures.


(15) We value accountability and take responsibility for our actions within the scope of our work, study and community engagement. This includes an obligation to report, explain and be answerable to the consequences of our actions.

(16) We will ensure that accountability is practised by:

  1. maintaining the high standards and reputation of the University;
  2. acting with care and diligence, and being accountable for official conduct and decisions;
  3. acknowledging and taking responsibility for our actions;
  4. using current and accurate information and evidence;
  5. seeking to attain the highest possible standards in the performance of our duties and exercising our responsibilities;
  6. adhering to codes of conduct and ethics of professional associations where applicable;
  7. maintaining up-to-date knowledge in our areas of work or scholarship, and in the professional, legal and ethical standards relevant to our areas of expertise;
  8. ensuring that intellectual freedom is exercised through the responsible and honest search for knowledge and its dissemination; and
  9. complying with the principles of health and safety at work and study, and reporting health and safety risks and incidents through appropriate channels.

Equality of Opportunity

(17) We value equality of opportunity and celebrate diversity. We recognise and support people from all ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds.

(18) We will ensure that equality of opportunity is achieved through:

  1. inclusiveness and respect for differences between people;
  2. actively promoting the value of diversity;
  3. transparent decision making in recruitment and retention of staff, and the attraction and retention of students;
  4. awareness and respect for all cultural backgrounds through developing cultural competence and acknowledgement of diversity across the University; and
  5. commitment to a workplace and study environment that is free from all forms of discrimination based on race, age, gender, marital status, religious belief, political affiliation, disability or sexual preference.

Values-based leadership

(19) We value high standards of leadership. Senior Staff, as leaders and role models for other staff, students and the wider community, will adhere to the highest standards of propriety and truthfulness in scholarship, research and professional practice.

(20) We are committed to values-based leadership through:

  1. leading and modelling the standards and reputation of the University through exemplary personal conduct;
  2. discharging our responsibilities with integrity in accordance with the highest standards of professional practice, aligned with the University’s policies and procedures;
  3. managing our people through appropriate use of authority in dealings with staff, students, clients and partners at all levels; and
  4. ensuring that compliance with legislation and regulations is observed at all times, and that it is undertaken in the spirit of the law.

Breach of Code of Conduct

(21) A substantiated breach of any part of this code of conduct will result in disciplinary action. The appropriate procedure will depend on the severity of the breach.

(22) A staff member has the right to appeal any disciplinary procedures or outcomes instituted under this procedure. Appeals must be made according to the process outlined in the Employee Grievance Procedures.

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Section 5 - Procedure

The Code of Conduct in Practice

(23) The University will provide staff members with access to education and training in relation to the requirements of this Code and related procedures.

(24) Where staff, students, clients or partners are uncertain about the Code’s application or interpretation, they should consult with the relevant Dean, Director or senior manager if appropriate.

(25) The Code should be read in conjunction with the current University Strategic Plan, Enterprise Agreement and other industrial instruments that may apply from time to time, and with University policies and procedures.

(26) The Code should be read in conjunction with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 and the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th Edition 2013.

(27) The University and its staff members, students, clients and partners are accountable for their conduct and behaviour.

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Section 6 - Non-Compliance

(28) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(29) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(30) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.