Welcome to the spring 2020 edition of integrity matters. In what has been a most profoundly unusual year, the Local Government Inspectorate has responded well to the tremendous pressure throughout this period. Despite the immense challenges, it’s pleasing to note that the critical processes of local government have continued, including the Victorian Electoral Commission’s ability to deliver 76 elections across the state.
In this edition I would like to share some information about how complaints are directed within Victoria’s integrity agencies, highlight changes we’ve made internally to ensure business continuity, provide guidance around complying with both electoral legislation and the current COVID-19 restrictions while campaigning and raise the coming issue of campaign donation returns.
Last week, complaints relating to this round of local council elections exceeded those received by the Inspectorate in 2016. As of publication, we’re expecting the total volume of electoral complaints to have increased by approximately 40%. While the complaint proportion by topic remains broadly consistent with past elections, the total volume is significantly increased, and we have also received additional complaints relating to COVID-19 issues.
Complaints related to breaches of COVID-19 restrictions fall outside the remit of the Inspectorate as they are matters for Victoria Police. Local Government Victoria and the VEC have also produced resources to ensure your campaigns are conducted safely and they are linked below.
Dr John Lynch PSM
Acting Chief Municipal Inspector
Reviewed 21 October 2020