Staff Code of Conduct

Our Strategic Intent

1. The University of South Australia is Australia’s University of Enterprise. Our culture of innovation is anchored around global and national links to academic, research, and industry partners. Our graduates are the new professionals, global citizens at ease with the world and ready to create and respond to change. Our research is inventive and adventurous, and we create new knowledge that is central to global economic and social prosperity.

2. We are committed to the twin principles of excellence and equity and to developing a high performing, enterprising workforce, and an environment in which people thrive and where diversity is valued.

3. As a curious learning community, we welcome a range of voices, and respect and embrace the unique blend of knowledge, skills, and diverse perspectives that people bring to our university as staff, students, and partners.

4. In support of our intent, at all times we will ensure that our work, contribution, and behaviour are aligned to the University’s core staff attributes that contribute to an enterprising culture:

• Being trusted, authentic and self-aware;
• Taking the initiative and delivering results;
• Leading and working well with others;
• Providing solutions; and
• Communicating with Impact.


5. To enable our strategic intent and reflect our values, we must be clear about the standards of behaviour to which we will hold ourselves, our colleagues, our partners, and everyone who works in and for the University of South Australia, accountable.
6. The University of South Australia (UniSA) has a duty of care to staff and students and is responsible for providing a safe environment for the University Community.
7. The Code of Conduct (the Code) is a statement of our commitment to upholding the required ethical, professional, and legal standards that underpin the decisions and actions supporting the achievement of our mission and strategic objectives.
8. In conjunction with related University policies, procedures and our collective industrial agreements, the Code forms the basis of the values and culture the University of South Australia is committed to building and sustaining.


9. The Code applies to all staff members, Council members, external members of Council Committees, honorary title holders, visiting academics, guest lecturers, and volunteers who contribute to the activities of the University.
10. The Code does not extend to our students who are covered by the Code of Conduct for Students, unless they are acting in a capacity as a staff member of the University.


Ethical and Respectful Behaviour

11. We value diversity and inclusion and commit to providing a mutually respectful, safe, and equitable working environment with no place for bullying, harassment, and all forms of discrimination, victimisation, or violence.
12. We are all required to:

12.1. act in a manner consistent with the University’s values, ensuring we treat people with respect and dignity, aligned to our core staff attributes.
12.2. act with honesty, sincerity, impartiality, and trustworthiness.
12.3. respectfully acknowledge all First Nations Peoples, in particular the Kaurna, Boandik, and Barngarla Peoples, and their Elders past and present, as the traditional owners of the land that are now home to the University of South Australia’s campuses.
12.4. act in a professional manner, which does not include any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation, vilification, victimisation, or any violent act, or threat of acting violently.
12.5. recognise there is no place for sexual assault and sexual harassment.
12.6. recognise there is no place for racism.
12.7. ensure that personal use of alcohol and/or other drugs does not affect work performance or the safety and the well-being of ourselves and others in the course of discharging our responsibilities.
12.8. actively promote a positive safety and reporting culture, openly challenging and promptly reporting unsafe, unethical, illegal, or otherwise unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour.
12.9. act in a manner that reflects positively on oneself and the University.


Integrity and Accountability

13. Our choices, decisions and actions must uphold and respect the values of the University and comply with the laws under which we are governed. As we endeavour to achieve excellence and strive for continuous improvement in performing our duties, we will do so aware of our obligations and responsibilities.
14. We are all required to:

14.1. take accountability for our decisions and actions and exercise our authority within our delegations with due care and diligence.
14.2. conduct ourselves in a manner that upholds the values of the University and complies with all applicable legislation and relevant University policies and procedures.
14.3. create and maintain true, complete, and accurate information.
14.4. proactively pursue strategies to mitigate the risk of anti-competitive practices, modern slavery, money laundering, foreign interference, and terrorism.
14.5. report to the University and appropriate authorities any matters which we believe give rise to reasonable suspicion that misconduct, fraud, corruption, a breach of law or similar conduct has occurred.
14.6. disclose to the University any relevant criminal charges and/or convictions.
14.7. apply the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness in all employment matters.

Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech

15. The University’s Statement on Academic Freedom confirms the University’s commitment to upholding and defending the exercise of academic freedom. The Statement sets out the rights and responsibilities of its staff and members of the University Community in exercising academic freedom. In exercising their right to academic freedom, staff will do so in accordance with accepted standards of scholarly inquiry and practice and in accordance with the principles of research integrity.
16. Academic freedom is closely aligned with but distinct from freedom of speech. As outlined in the University’s Freedom of Speech Policy and Public Statement Procedure, freedom of speech is a paramount value of the University. The University is committed to ensuring the freedom of speech of individuals covered by this Policy.
17. We are all required to:

17.1. apply intellectual rigour, honesty, and integrity in scholarship, research, practice, and administration.
17.2. demonstrate mutual respect, collegiality, and tolerance for others and foster inclusive and open discussion to create a positive environment for the exchange and debate of ideas by all members of the University Community.
17.3. respect diversity in exercising our right to academic freedom and to support the University as a place of independent learning and thought where ideas and opinions may be freely expressed and constructive criticism engaged in without bullying, harassing, vilifying, intimidating, defaming, or discriminating in any form against individuals, the community, or the University.
17.4. ensure that when commenting on any matter in a personal or private capacity the opinions expressed do not purport, or appear, to be the official view of the University.
17.5. comply with any applicable obligations imposed by ethics committees or codes of practice of relevant funding or professional bodies.

Research, Innovation and Creativity

18. Integrity of our research enterprise is foundational to maintaining the trust placed in our researchers as they seek to carry out work that benefits us all. Honesty, accuracy, objectivity, and efficiency will mark every aspect of the research we undertake. Our actions will proactively demonstrate excellence in research and the integrity of our research values and principles including honesty, objectivity, fairness, accuracy, reliability, and responsibility.
19. We are all required to:

19.1. pursue and disseminate knowledge in a responsible and honest manner and conduct our research with integrity.
19.2. support equitable sharing of benefits with research partners and, where appropriate, facilitate free and open access to knowledge.
19.3. respect Aboriginal self-determination and to build mutually respectful relationships with Aboriginal Peoples through two-way knowledge sharing and reciprocity, ensuring research benefits and methodologies are determined by Aboriginal Peoples and ownership of Aboriginal knowledge is appropriately valued and acknowledged.
19.4. ensure commercialisation of research outcomes is conducted honestly and ethically.

Conflict of Interest

20. As an enterprising, industry-engaged, and globally connected University, we recognise our people will interact with Government agencies, industry, private companies, and professional and community organisations, both personally and professionally. The proactive management of any actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest that may arise is essential for promoting and maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the University of South Australia’s teaching and learning, research, and business operations and services.
21. We are all required to:

21.1. act honestly, in the best interests of the University, and in good faith in all dealings with others, declaring actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest in all instances.
21.2. actively avoid being placed in situations of actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest and to comply with agreed strategies for the management of any such conflicts.
21.3. proactively disclose potential and actual conflicts of interests in all areas of our work, including research funding and publications.
21.4. refrain from using information gained, or resources accessed, in the course of our work to create undue advantage or disadvantage in a personal, commercial, or third-party capacity.
21.5. not make improper use of our position, status, power, or authority to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for ourselves or any other person.
21.6. only accept gifts and benefits where they cannot influence, or appear to influence, our decision-making and ensure they are appropriately disclosed.
21.7. avoid situations where family, sexual, or other close personal relationships with staff or students of the University could influence, or appear to influence, academic or professional judgements and decisions.

University Assets, Resources, and Intellectual Property

22. The University of South Australia is a complex organisation with assets and resources of significant scale and value, including intellectual property. We commit to managing these for the benefit of the University and in doing so efficiently and effectively, ensuring the sustainable use of University resources by embedding environmental, social, economic and cultural sustainability in all our activities.
23. We are all required to:

23.1. use and maintain, with appropriate authorisation, any University assets and resources for the benefit of the University and without misappropriation.
23.2. comply with University policies and procedures related to the protection of commercially sensitive and confidential or personal information and only use such information for the purpose authorised by the University, in both cyber and physical mediums.
23.3. respect and protect intellectual property rights and abide by related policies or legal requirements. Acknowledge that anything created or invested as a consequence of being engaged or employed by the University remains the property of the University, except in specifically approved circumstances.
23.4. collect, use, store, handle, update, and destroy data in line with the applicable principles, policies, and procedures.
23.5. acknowledge the intellectual contribution of others and avoid infringing their rights.
23.6. report suspected or actual misuse of, or fraudulent activity involving, University assets and resources.

Policies and Procedures

24. In addition to the standards of workplace conduct included in the Code, the University of South Australia Enterprise Agreement 2023, the Senior Staff Employment Policy and the Council Member’s Handbook (as amended and replaced), and the policies and procedures maintained by the University, provide further guidance for staff and should be read in conjunction with the Code. These policies and procedures are available in the UniSA Policy Library.

Upholding the Code

25. The Code cannot address every situation that may be encountered by individuals covered under this Policy. Any concerns about the application of the Code, or about behaviour that may reasonably be considered to be suspected or actual breaches of the Code, the law, or any other policy or governing rule, must be promptly referred, in writing, to the Executive Director: People, Talent, and Culture.
26. Any difficulty in complying with or understanding the Code should be referred to a senior staff member for support and guidance or the relevant specialist team in the University.

Breaches of the Code

27. Breaching the law, the Code, or our workplace policies and procedures, can have serious consequences for the University and each of us as individuals. Failing to follow the Code puts individuals, their colleagues, the University and its reputation at risk.
28. Significant breaches of the Code and other University Policies may also amount to misconduct.
29. All potential breaches should be reported as soon as possible.
30. If a member of the University Community refers suspected or actual breaches of the Code to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture in accordance with clause 25 of the Code, the University may investigate any such concerns in accordance with applicable policies and industrial instruments.
31. If the University finds that an individual covered by this Policy has breached the Code, the University may take disciplinary action up to and including the termination of employment or relationship with the University and/or recission of an honorary title.


32. Council is responsible for the review of the Code to ensure the Code reflects current contemporary best practice in ethical behaviour and complies with relevant legislation. The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for the effective implementation of the Staff Code of Conduct.
33. The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is responsible for the on-going review of the Code.
34. All individuals covered by this Policy are responsible for complying with and upholding the Code.