Once every four years, Victoria holds its general council elections.
This is generally a vibrant time for local government in Victoria but the pandemic and the resulting restrictions on movement created unprecedented conditions.
The Local Government Inspectorate is the lead integrity agency for Victorian local government.
We spoke to long-serving councillors who said the 2020 election was the most vindictive and vitriolic election they had participated in. We saw a 107 per cent rise in the number of complaints – 409 in 2016 to 848 in 2020.
We also saw a 241 per cent increase in social media complaints (from 78 to 266) and a rise in the number of candidates lodging complaints against each other, with some ’weaponising’ our complaints process.
We work with other government agencies to help ensure a fair and democratic election process.
- monitor candidate eligibility
- provide advice to and monitoring the conduct of councils and candidates
- receive and assess allegations
- conduct investigations into potential offences under the Local Government Act (1989 and 2020 Acts).
We work with other integrity agencies to monitor local government elections and are able to receive or refer complaints to other agencies, including the Victorian Electoral Commission, the Victorian Ombudsman and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
Reviewed 13 December 2021