Mount Burnett Observatory Code of Ethics and Conduct

Preamble

Mt Burnett Observatory (MBO) is a community-based organisation that values diversity and openness and believes that everyone should be treated with respect. We are an organisation whose focus is inclusiveness and are committed to ensuring that all participants in our activities should be able to enjoy them in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Diversity can include characteristics such as cultural background and ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, language and education. The benefits of diversity for everyone include improved wellbeing, positive engagement with the community, an increase in performance and innovation as well as lower levels of discrimination (Diversity Council of Australia).

To promote this environment, we have developed a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct to guide all members in their interactions with each other and the wider community. The Code of Ethics outlines our core values, and the Code of Conduct specifies the rules and expectations that arise from this.

Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics is based on three core values: Equality, Respect and Responsibility.

Equality

All members and visitors are to be treated fairly – not discriminated against, abused or harassed. This is regardless of age, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, gender identity, physical characteristics, political opinion, race, religion, or sexual preference. Diversity at MBO means bringing together these individual differences to the benefit of the organisation. Diversity at MBO is about attracting, developing and retaining a wide cross section of memberships and developing MBO as a thriving organisation.

Respect

Respect for the rights of other peoples is the basis on which individuals become members of a community and accept their social responsibilities to behave with integrity. It is important that people are treated in all MBO interactions with respect and courtesy and without coercion or harassment of any kind. This will ensure that equity and fairness are the base of all relationships. “Demonstrating respect for persons requires, for example, dealing with disagreement by reasoned argument rather than by using language (words, style and tone) that have the effect of inappropriately attacking or demeaning the listener.” (UWA Code of Conduct)

Responsibility

Members are expected to take responsibility for their actions. This requires not only that members avoid doing harm to others, but that they also exhibit courteous behaviour and protect the rights of others, respecting the diversity of people and cultures. It is expected that adult members are responsible for the conduct of all child members attached to their membership.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is based on the core values outlined in the Code of Ethics and Diversity Statement. This Code applies to all members, contractors and visitors engaged in any activity relating to MBO.

The objectives of the Code are to:

  • Provide direction to members around expected conduct whilst at MBO or representing MBO; and
  • Assist members in dealing with ethical issues in ways that reflect MBO’s values and standards.

The Code of Conduct does not, and cannot, cover every possible situation. You can, however, test yourself on whether your behaviour is ethical and appropriate by asking yourself five questions:

  • Would I be happy to have what I am saying or doing be on the public record or appear on the front page of a newspaper?
  • Does what I am saying or doing serve a purpose beyond self-interest?
  • Would I like to be spoken to or treated in this way?
  • How will taking this action reflect on my character, or the reputation of MBO?

What would MBO be like, if we all made decisions like this or behaved in this way?

Harassment and discrimination are against the core values of MBO’s Code of Ethics and unlawful according to State and Federal legislation. Harassment and discrimination of any form, such as sexism, racism or bullying has no place in our organisation. All forms of harassment and discrimination are serious issues that undermine morale and can adversely affect the ability of members to feel included in MBO. It needs to be recognised that these activities not only impact on the person the behaviour is directed at but also adversely affects those who witness such events.

Harassment and discrimination includes activities such as: sustained disruption of talks; inappropriate physical contact, sexual attention or innuendo; stalking; and photography or recording a person without consent. It also includes offensive comments or jokes relating to issues including age, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, gender identity, physical characteristics, political opinion, race, religion, or sexual preference.

Bullying includes situations where a member or members are harmed, intimidated, threatened, victimised, undermined, offended, degraded or humiliated, whether alone or in front of other members. Typical bullying behaviour includes verbal abuse, psychological harassment and/or intimidation.

Such behaviour is unacceptable and all complaints will be dealt with fairly and promptly. Written complaints are to be addressed to either the Secretary or President of MBO. People making the complaints are expected to be able to do so without the threat of retaliation, alienation or further humiliation.

Individuals engaging in behaviour prohibited by this policy, as well as those making allegations of harassment in bad faith, will be subject to disciplinary action. These actions include verbal warnings, and/or ejection from the meeting or activity. Repeat offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action, up to, and including the formation of a disciplinary subcommittee to review the status of the person’s membership with possible termination of the membership.

References:

University of Western Australia (UWA) Australian Synchroton Company Limited
IP Australia
Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA)
The LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program

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