Conflict of interest policy

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Introduction

Wikimedia Australia is a non-profit organisation recognised by the Wikimedia Foundation as an official chapter, that exists to serve the purposes enumerated in its statement of purpose. To achieve these purposes, Wikimedia Australia calls upon the services of its elected management committee along with staff and volunteers, and this policy is intended to address any real or perceived conflict of interest situations that might arise in the pursuit of those purposes.

This policy applies to committee members – a secondary COI policy covers others engaged in WMAU activities.

Definitions

  • Conflict of interest: A conflict of interest exists when a committee member has personal interests which compete or conflict with the interests of the chapter.
  • An actual conflict of interest exists when there is a real conflict between a committee member's personal interests and the chapter's interests, in relation to an item under consideration by the committee
  • A potential conflict of interest exists when a committee member has personal interests that may conflict with the chapter's interests but which have not yet caused an actual conflict.
  • A perceived conflict of interest exists when a reasonable third party may believe that a committee member's personal interests could conflict with the chapter's interests or which may influence the committee member's actions as a committee member.
  • Personal interests include a committee member's personal, professional, and commercial interests, and the personal, professional, and commercial interests of others with whom they have a close relationship, such as family members, spouses, partners, close friends and enemies.

Purpose

The purpose and aims of this policy are to:

  1. protect the interests and reputation of the chapter, and the Wikimedia movement more generally;
  2. assist the organisation to identify, evaluate, and address any real, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest;
  3. build a supportive organisational framework within the organisation
  4. promote responsibility, transparency and integrity.

Policy and procedure

Wikimedia Australia’s policy and procedure for managing and addressing conflicts of interest within the organisation are as follows:

  1. This policy applies to committee members.
  2. Committee members are required to declare any actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.
  3. The secretary will maintain a register of interests declared by committee members. Each committee member is responsible for notifying the secretary of any necessary changes to the register. This register of interests will be confidential and only made available to other members of the committee.
  4. Where any member has an actual conflict of interest related to an item under consideration by the committee, the remainder of the committee should decide the extent of participation of the conflicted member in relation to the item. The remainder of the committee might choose to restrict the conflicted member’s participation in one or more of the following ways:
    • Not allowing the conflicted member to vote in relation to the item
    • Asking the conflicted member to not discuss the item within the committee and/or the association and/or with individual members while the item is under consideration, (other than at the request of the remainder of the committee)
    • Preventing the conflicted member from being aware of the details of the discussion of the item within the committee
    • Withholding committee documents (or parts thereof) in relation to the item from the conflicted member while the item is under consideration
  5. If a committee member declares themselves to have an existing or potential conflict of interest, confidentiality will be respected and the interest will be redacted from the public minutes.
  6. It is recognised that the personal, professional and commercial affairs of a committee member and their close family and friends will be wide-ranging and that a complete and exhaustive enumeration of the potential conflicts of interests arising from those affairs is impractical, particularly as many of those affairs will be completely unrelated to Wikimedia Australia's activities. However, committee members should declare potential conflicts of interests as soon as they become aware that some aspect of those affairs might become related to Wikimedia Australia's activities. The committee may also determine from time to time thresholds for levels of involvement in particular kinds of affairs that do or do not warrant a conflict of interest declaration. Such determinations will be recorded in the CoI register.

Additional statutory requirements

Wikimedia Australia is incorporated in the state of Victoria, so in addition to the policy, committee members are expected to comply with relevant legislation, including the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.

Administration of this policy

This policy will be administered and maintained by the committee, which is responsible for reviewing and addressing conflicts of interest and amending this policy where necessary. The secretary is responsible for maintaining a register of conflicts of interest declared by committee members and for maintaining a secondary mailing list.