Property managers warned after Melbourne by-election investigation

The Local Government Inspectorate has completed its investigation into the alleged fraudulent submission of ballot papers during the Melbourne Lord Mayor by-election in 2018.

Friday, 15 March 2019 at 5:16 am

The investigation found that 41 ballot papers were marked by a person other than the enrolled voter. At those addresses, property managers had been authorised by international landlords to manage all aspects of their property. That authorisation, however, cannot include casting a vote under Victorian electoral laws.

Importantly, the investigation found that the 41 declaration envelopes were detected by Victorian Electoral Commission processes and excluded from the ballot count, therefore not affecting the outcome.

While a prima facie breach of the electoral provisions of the Act was substantiated, the Inspectorate opted not to pursue prosecution against property managers. Formal warnings have been issued to five people and the Inspectorate has also provided guidance to ensure property managers understand and follow relevant electoral rules.

Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said: 'Our investigation did not uncover any systemic or intentional ballot fraud but this issue has arisen from a misunderstanding of the electoral laws.'

'The Inspectorate will work with the VEC to provide clarity for property managers and agents for future elections where similar circumstances exist.'

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Name change

As of 3 May 2018, the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate formally changed and simplified its title to the Local Government Inspectorate. Please use our new title in any news articles, broadcasts or other communications. Thank you.