Newcastle councillor Allan Robinson could face suspension if the Office of Local Government decides a string of code of conduct breaches are serious misconduct.
Cr Robinson was due to be formally censured by the elected council in a confidential session at the end of this week's ordinary meeting about two code of conduct complaints. However, the council laid the matter on the table to seek advice from the OLG as it believes the breaches should be treated under its serious misconduct provisions.
Eight breaches had been alleged across the two complaints lodged by deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen and the United Services Union.
The complaint from Cr Clausen related to an email Cr Robinson sent to a resident in which he made "derogatory comments" about another councillor "that constituted verbal abuse, harassment or bullying".
Contacted Thursday, Cr Robinson initially said he could "not recall" the email, but later admitted to making a remark about the lord mayor, which she described as a "derogatory sexist slur".
Cr Robinson said he had no plans to apologise.
Regarding the other complaint, understood to be mostly about previously reported homophobic comments Cr Robinson made about Cr Clausen, the council resolved that it did not consider censuring Cr Robinson "appropriate remedial action", and the "repeated behaviours and two censures" were "serious misconduct" that should be dealt with by the OLG under those provisions, which can include suspension.
"If you Google the most suspended jockey in Australian history, you'll find a picture of me," Cr Robinson said. "I retired with 111 suspensions. Do you think I'm worried about one more?"
The code of conduct complaints were investigated by a conduct reviewer, independent of the council.
The investigation report was tabled during the confidential session on Tuesday.
As part of its resolution, the council resolved to seek legal advice on whether the report can be publicly released "to ensure open and natural justice".
The council's resolution acknowledged parts of the report may require "appropriate redaction to protect complainants", but on Thursday deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen reiterated his belief that the "full report" should be made public.
"The public have a right to know about the conduct of elected officials that act in their name," he said.
"It is the only way that the public can hold us to account at the ballot box.
"Unless released publicly, I am concerned that a councillor's repeated disgusting, discriminatory, hurtful and malicious comments, would otherwise be guarded behind 'confidentiality'.
"The public have a right to know his conduct, including in formal interviews with an independent code of conduct reviewer."
Asked whether he would be comfortable with the report being released, Cr Robinson said: "I hope they do."
"It wouldn't worry me," he said. "I couldn't care less."
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said on Thursday that staff would "seek legal advice on whether the investigator's report can be made public" over coming days.
The council was still drafting its letter to the Office of Local Government about reviewing the code of conduct breaches on Thursday.
The Newcastle Herald understands it may not receive a response until next year.
Cr Robinson, a member of the Newcastle Independents group of councillors, said a suspension from council "would be a blessing".
"They're going to stop me doing council work," he said.
"Do you have any idea how busy I am?"
Fellow Newcastle Independents councillors Kath Elliott and John Church left Tuesday's meeting early and did not participate in the confidential session.
"Cr Robinson's political team consistently support his behaviour and have not apologised or condemned his actions," Cr Nelmes said.
"They too should be held accountable."
Cr Elliott said she did not condone "hate speech" but described the conduct complaints as a "sideshow". She said she had "no control" over Cr Robinson's actions.
Cr Church said he developed a "severe migraine" during the meeting and gave notice he had to leave.
He said he was "happy for Cr Robinson to speak for himself".
Cr Brad Luke (LIB) stayed for the session but left before the vote.
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