CONCERNS about harassment, intimidation and bullying are being made public through a new notice of motion.
Councillor Jacqui Rudge has lodged the notice of motion to Wednesday's Bathurst Regional Council meeting, requesting that council agree to have zero tolerance for any candidates in the upcoming election who engage in these behaviours.
The zero tolerance would apply to both new candidates and incumbents.
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Cr Rudge told the Western Advocate that she has experienced harassment, intimidation and bullying during her first term on council, including from other councillors.
"I've found in my term on council that I've been intimidated through various Facebook posts and it's been very difficult for me. I'm not saying that's from being a female, but it hasn't been easy, and I've been very clear about that," she said.
"I should be allowed to disagree with what other councillors think without being intimidated because of my views.
"I don't want anyone that's thinking about running for council to look at this and think 'Can I put up with this? Would I put up with this? Why would I do this?'. I really think it's important that they don't feel this is going to be the case.
"We as a council need to stand up on Wednesday night and say we are going to have a zero tolerance for this. We need to join together on this and agree to disagree without intimidation or bullying."
The next local government election will be held on September 4.
Cr Rudge said it's particularly important for current councillors to think about how they will behave if they choose to run for re-election.
"I've made it public that I haven't had the most comfortable time on council for my first term, that's already been publicly said. I'd just like to see council lead the community by example, I just think it's important that we as leaders are not seen to be engaging in intimidation or bullying or personal attacks," she said.
"If we can't run a campaign on policy and issues that the people of Bathurst have without engaging in behaviour such as intimidation, I think they have to have a rethink whether they're going to run for council."
If anyone does resort to harassment, intimidation or bullying, Cr Rudge said that it is up to current councillors to call out that behaviour.
"I think we all need to take that responsibility, and me included. We need to stick to policies and the issues that are surrounding Bathurst and not make personal attacks," she said.
She said it will be "interesting" to see who supports the notice of motion for zero tolerance at Wednesday's meeting.
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