A majority of Alice Spring councillors say there is a culture of bullying within the council.

Just a year into its four-year term, five out of nine councillors have reported being bullied or seen other councillors bullied.

Two of those five have spoken on the record to ABC reporters, raising a range of allegations including that reputations had been “manipulated” and “slandered”, and that the code of conduct complaints system is being used to silence rather than support councillors.

One reported being “gagged” by a continuing series of “frivolous, vexatious, baseless” code of conduct complaints.

Others expressed a fear of retribution for speaking up.

Australia’s anti-bullying laws cover all constitutionally valid businesses in Australia, but councillors do not get the protection of regular workplace laws, and so they must instead rely on the Local Government Act.

But those raising allegations of bullying say the act is not an adequate substitute for workplace bullying legislation.

Alice Springs CEO Rex Mooney said he is confident the “differences” within the council will be resolved.