QLS Election Media and Engagement Protocol 2023

Effective 9am AEST Monday, 11 September 2023 to 4:00pm AEST Monday 9 October 2023. 

1 About

1.1    Queensland Law Society (QLS) is a non-partisan, non-political organisation and biennially administers the QLS Council election (QLS Election).

1.2    QLS supports and encourages all full members on the Roll of Electors to nominate for Council.

1.3    QLS has implemented this Election, Media and Engagement Protocol (Protocol) to:

  1. maintain a level playing field for all candidates; and
  2. assist and guide current Members of the Council of the QLS (Councillors) as well as candidates nominating or re-nominating for Council.

2 Application

2.1   This Protocol operates during the election period from 9am AEST Monday, 11 September 2023 until 4:00pm AEST Monday, 9 October 2023 (inclusive) (Election Period).

2.2   This Protocol applies to:

  1. all full members on the Roll of Electors who nominate for the QLS Election during the Election Period (candidates); 
  2. Councillors; and
  3. Organisations or individuals in the legal profession who wish to support candidate/s (supporters).

2.3    This Protocol applies in conjunction with the QLS Council Charter.

3 Purpose

3.1    The purpose of this Protocol is to:

  1. set out the QLS's expectations;
  2. provide guidance as to how candidates who nominate for the QLS Election are expected to act during the Election Period; and
  3. provide guidance as to how Councillors, regardless of nomination status, are expected to discharge their duties during the Election Period.

3.2    QLS expects all candidates, Councillors and supporters will:

  1. abide by this Protocol;
  2. treat other candidates with professional respect and courtesy in accordance with the duties and principles set out in the Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules 2012; and
  3. where a candidate is a current Councillor seeking re-election:
    1. not use their current role as Councillor for personal campaigning purposes; and
    2. understand that a failure to properly separate a Councillor's official role from a personal campaign can have significant consequences both in legal and reputational terms.

4 Candidate Guidelines for campaigning, media and engagement

4.1    Candidates may begin campaigning as soon as they receive confirmation from QLS that their application for candidacy is accepted. Candidates may campaign until the close of voting at 4:00pm AEST Monday 9 October 2023.

4.2    Candidates are entitled to use their own personal contacts to engage members to vote for them, using a variety of personal marketing channels. Possible channels may include:

  1. utilising your personal social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc);
  2. sharing QLS social media posts;
  3. creating a YouTube video for your campaign and sharing it on your personal accounts;
  4. creating a Facebook page specifically for your campaign;
  5. creating personalised hashtags for your posts on your personal accounts; or
  6. sending emails from your personal email account to personal contacts in the profession, and asking that they be sent on to the recipients’ personal contacts in the profession.

4.3    Candidates are encouraged to post to their own social media channels using the #qlselection2023.

An example is set out below:


LinkedIn: I will be running for QLS Council as Councillor #qlselection2023

Candidates are encouraged to use the QLS Member logo in accordance with the QLS’s terms and conditions.

5 Restrictions

5.1    Candidates must not use QLS communication channels to personally campaign for the QLS Election. QLS communication channels include, but are not limited to:

  1. Proctor;
  2. QLS ECL Newsletters;
  3. QLS Lawtalk/Medium;
  4. QLS Update;
  5. QLS Twitter;
  6. QLS Facebook; 
  7. QLS LinkedIn; and
  8. a QLS email account.

5.2    Candidates must not adopt the style, look and feel, design, visual asset, QLS Corporate Logo or branding of any QLS written or online communication or in any way give the perception that QLS is supporting or endorsing a personal campaign.

5.3    Candidates must not engage in any conduct that could give rise to a conflict of interest between the interests of QLS and their personal interests, including:

  1. utilising information obtained in an official QLS capacity for personal election campaigns (e.g. member lists and contact details); or
  2. utilising QLS resources for personal election campaigning.

6 Guide for Councillors standing for re-election

6.1    Councillors seeking re-election are required to adopt the following approach when performing their duties as a Councillor and undertaking personal election campaigning:

  1. proceed on a "business as usual" footing and seek to perform their duties as they would in the absence of an Election Period;
  2. exercise "judicious caution" when they are considering whether to make a media statement or attend an official QLS function or otherwise use QLS badging, resources or communication during the Election Period to ensure that:
    1. there can be no suggestion of there being a conflict of interest in the performance of their official duties as a Councillor and their personal interest in seeking re-election as a Councillor;
    2. they have not inappropriately used and/or applied QLS resources for a personal purpose;
    3. they have not used their official role to obtain a personal benefit or otherwise profit from their official role; and
    4. the reputation and standing of the QLS is not to be diminished by Councillors being seen to interfere with an election process.

7 Guide for all Councillors for media and public engagement

7.1    This Protocol is to guide Councillors only in circumstances of public engagement where Councillors are representing QLS in their capacity as Councillor during the Election Period.

7.2    This Protocol does not apply to Councillors’ engagement in their personal capacity during the Election Period.

7.3    All Councillors, regardless of nomination status, when considering whether to provide a media statement or attend an official QLS function in their capacity as Councillor, should take a conservative approach by:

  1. only acting as a Councillor in the ordinary course of business for the QLS;
  2. ensuring that there is a clear interest to the QLS in making any media statement or attending any official QLS function;
  3. ensuring that the Councillor's conduct is within the normal course of conduct for a QLS Councillor;
  4. remaining impartial and non-partisan when representing QLS at public and official functions; and
  5. not diminishing the reputation and standing of the QLS, in their capacity as Councillor, by being seen to interfere with an election process.

8 QLS’s role in media and engagement

8.1    QLS will take the following steps to communicate to the candidates standing for election, including re- election:

  1. During the nomination period – 9am AEST Monday, 11 September to 4:00pm AEST Thursday 21 September 2023:
    1. QLS will assess each candidate’s nomination;
    2. QLS will advise the candidate whether their application for candidacy has been accepted; and
    3. within two business days of receipt of an accepted nomination, QLS will publish the names of eligible candidates in order of nomination receipt on the QLS website.
  2. The QLS official channels publication period – 9am AEST Tuesday, 12 September to 4:00pm AEST 9 October 2023:
    1. from 9am AEST Friday, 21 September, QLS will publish the names, biographies and photos submitted by eligible candidates in the order drawn by lot electronically in accordance with r35(2) of the Rules on the QLS website; and
    2. QLS election communications will invite members to view these profiles.

8.2    QLS cannot share member contact details with QLS Election candidates or QLS members due to the requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

9 Contact

9.1    Queries about the QLS Election, Media and Engagement Protocol should be directed to the Returning Officer at elections@qls.com.au.