Beyond Review: Parliamentary Committee failed to subject the VEC to oversight by the Ombudsman

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee has published its report on the Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

In its report the Committee has made a number of recommendations in relation to the operation of the Human Rights charter. What was of considerable note was the Committee’s failure to address issues of concern in relation to the Ombudsman’s oversight

The Ombudsman plays a significant role in the oversight of government administration. the office of the Ombudsman is the appropriate body to oversee the administration of state authorities.

The Committee in its recommendations made two references to the Ombudsman

Recommendation 6

Complaints to the Ombudsman

If the Charter is retained, then SARC recommends that public authorities who are subject to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction be encouraged to inform people who bring internal complaints that the Ombudsman may be able to investigate any unresolved complaints, including complaints concerning Charter rights.

Recommendation 33

Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman

If s. 13(1A) of the Ombudsman Act 1973 is retained, then SARC recommends that it be amended so as to specify the range of bodies that can be subject to an enquiry or investigation with respect to human rights.

The Committee also noted:

Complaints to the Ombudsman.

The Consultation Committee considered that the Ombudsman already had the power to handle human rights complaints, but recommended clarifying that it could consider Charter rights.

What the Committee failed to address was the provision of the Victorian Ombudsman Act that prevents the Ombudsman from reviewing the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC). s 13(3)(ca)

The Victorian Electoral Commission is not subjected to the Ombudsman Act, it is exempt, and as such the Ombudsman has no oversight over the VEC’s administrative misuse and abuse. The only avenue of review is the Courts, VCAT and the Parliament itself.

The Ombudsman has jurisdiction over a range of government authorities including the Victoria Police and Local Government in respect to administrative issues, why not the VEC?

Complaints against the VEC go unaddressed, The Parliament is reluctant to consider in detail any complaints against the VEC for fear of being seen to be partisan in its deliberations. It is incapable of considering any complaints of an administrative matter let alone misuse and abuse under the Human Rights Charter or abuses under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee failed to address this issue of concern and failed to recommend removing the VEC’s exemption under the Victorian Ombudsman Act.

Whilst the Committee has recognised the role the Ombudsman plays in protection of Human Rights and government oversight it failed to address this essential issue of concern.

Last year a petition was tabled in the parliament calling for the Ombudsman act to be amended to resume the VEC exclusion from review by the Ombudsman.

Recommendation 6 and 33 of the Committee’s report does not apply to the VEC as the Ombudsman cannot review any actions of the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The Victorian Electoral Commission remains unaccountable and beyond review.

Beyond Review: Parliamentary Committee failed to subject the VEC to oversight by the Ombudsman

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee has published its report on the Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

In its report the Committee has made a number of recommendations in relation to the operation of the Human Rights charter. What was of considerable note was the Committee’s failure to address issues of concern in relation to the Ombudsman’s oversight

The Ombudsman plays a significant role in the oversight of government administration. the office of the Ombudsman is the appropriate body to oversee the administration of state authorities.

The Committee in its recommendations made two references to the Ombudsman

Recommendation 6

Complaints to the Ombudsman

If the Charter is retained, then SARC recommends that public authorities who are subject to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction be encouraged to inform people who bring internal complaints that the Ombudsman may be able to investigate any unresolved complaints, including complaints concerning Charter rights.

Recommendation 33

Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman

If s. 13(1A) of the Ombudsman Act 1973 is retained, then SARC recommends that it be amended so as to specify the range of bodies that can be subject to an enquiry or investigation with respect to human rights.

The Committee also noted:

Complaints to the Ombudsman.

The Consultation Committee considered that the Ombudsman already had the power to handle human rights complaints, but recommended clarifying that it could consider Charter rights.

What the Committee failed to address was the provision of the Victorian Ombudsman Act that prevents the Ombudsman from reviewing the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC). s 13(3)(ca)

The Victorian Electoral Commission is not subjected to the Ombudsman Act, it is exempt, and as such the Ombudsman has no oversight over the VEC’s administrative misuse and abuse. The only avenue of review is the Courts, VCAT and the Parliament itself.

The Ombudsman has jurisdiction over a range of government authorities including the Victoria Police and Local Government in respect to administrative issues, why not the VEC?

Complaints against the VEC go unaddressed, The Parliament is reluctant to consider in detail any complaints against the VEC for fear of being seen to be partisan in its deliberations. It is incapable of considering any complaints of an administrative matter let alone misuse and abuse under the Human Rights Charter or abuses under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee failed to address this issue of concern and failed to recommend removing the VEC’s exemption under the Victorian Ombudsman Act.

Whilst the Committee has recognised the role the Ombudsman plays in protection of Human Rights and government oversight it failed to address this essential issue of concern.

Last year a petition was tabled in the parliament calling for the Ombudsman act to be amended to resume the VEC exclusion from review by the Ombudsman.

Recommendation 6 and 33 of the Committee’s report does not apply to the VEC as the Ombudsman cannot review any actions of the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The Victorian Electoral Commission remains unaccountable and beyond review.

Beyond Review: Parliamentary Committee failed to subject the VEC to oversight by the Ombudsman

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee has published its report on the Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

In its report the Committee has made a number of recommendations in relation to the operation of the Human Rights charter. What was of considerable note was the Committee’s failure to address issues of concern in relation to the Ombudsman’s oversight

The Ombudsman plays a significant role in the oversight of government administration. the office of the Ombudsman is the appropriate body to oversee the administration of state authorities.

The Committee in its recommendations made two references to the Ombudsman

Recommendation 6

Complaints to the Ombudsman

If the Charter is retained, then SARC recommends that public authorities who are subject to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction be encouraged to inform people who bring internal complaints that the Ombudsman may be able to investigate any unresolved complaints, including complaints concerning Charter rights.

Recommendation 33

Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman

If s. 13(1A) of the Ombudsman Act 1973 is retained, then SARC recommends that it be amended so as to specify the range of bodies that can be subject to an enquiry or investigation with respect to human rights.

The Committee also noted:

Complaints to the Ombudsman.

The Consultation Committee considered that the Ombudsman already had the power to handle human rights complaints, but recommended clarifying that it could consider Charter rights.

What the Committee failed to address was the provision of the Victorian Ombudsman Act that prevents the Ombudsman from reviewing the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC). s 13(3)(ca)

The Victorian Electoral Commission is not subjected to the Ombudsman Act, it is exempt, and as such the Ombudsman has no oversight over the VEC’s administrative misuse and abuse. The only avenue of review is the Courts, VCAT and the Parliament itself.

The Ombudsman has jurisdiction over a range of government authorities including the Victoria Police and Local Government in respect to administrative issues, why not the VEC?

Complaints against the VEC go unaddressed, The Parliament is reluctant to consider in detail any complaints against the VEC for fear of being seen to be partisan in its deliberations. It is incapable of considering any complaints of an administrative matter let alone misuse and abuse under the Human Rights Charter or abuses under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee failed to address this issue of concern and failed to recommend removing the VEC’s exemption under the Victorian Ombudsman Act.

Whilst the Committee has recognised the role the Ombudsman plays in protection of Human Rights and government oversight it failed to address this essential issue of concern.

Last year a petition was tabled in the parliament calling for the Ombudsman act to be amended to resume the VEC exclusion from review by the Ombudsman.

Recommendation 6 and 33 of the Committee’s report does not apply to the VEC as the Ombudsman cannot review any actions of the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The Victorian Electoral Commission remains unaccountable and beyond review.

Open and transparency review suppressed

The Victorian State Parliament following a complaint from the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Steve Tully, has removed publication of submissions made to the Electoral Matters Committee. The submission which is critical of the conduct of the 2006 Victorian State Election raised concerns that the Chief Electoral Commissioner may have mislead the parliamentary committee in his evidence and report where the Commissioner claimed that copies of preference data files were destroyed during the last election, with an allegation that the Commission is engaged in an cover-up and avoidance exercise to prevent proper scrutiny of the 2006 State election.

The State Parliament has been called on to initiate greater oversight in the conduct of public elections following the disastrous errors in the computerized counting systems that occurred in the 2006 State election and the 2008 Municipal Elections.

The submission outlined issues of concern about the lack of openness and transparency in the computerized counting system introduced in Victoria and the failure of the Commission to provide copies of the preference data files and its failure to reconcile the total number of votes with the information recorded on the voting centre return declarations. As a result of this ommission the total number of votes recorded for the Western Metropolitan Region had changed between the primary count and the second count.

‘The Parliament needs to make sure that the total number of ballot papers recorded are reconciled with voting centre returns to ensure that all ballot papers are properly accounted for and that there is no repeat of the situation where hundreds of ballot papers go missing between counts as was the case in the Western Metropolitan Region. The Victorian Electoral Commission must be required to produce a reconciliation report of the voting centre declarations outlining the total number of ballot papers that have been issued and returned prior to the commencement of data entry of ballot paper preferences. All votes should issued and returned be accounted for on Election night.

Further the Parliament needs to investigate the data management process of the Electoral Commission following evidence that copies of the detailed preference data files had been overwritten and were not available for independent review or scrutiny. “It is conceivable that the Electoral Commission did not maintain backup copies this crucial and important data. It costs Millions of dollars for the Commission to collate this information. Any professional IT management would ensure that all crucial data in the vote counting was backed-up as a matter of course as part of a disaster recovery plan. If backup copies were not made then there are major issues that need to be reviewed.”

The submission, which was pulled from publication on Friday, called on the State government to restore public confidence in the conduct of electrons in Victoria by ensuring that the public elections remain open and transparent and that crucial information is readily available and that the Victorian Electoral Commission is held accountable for its actions.

The submission also outlines a serious complaint of ongoing harassment and intimidation against witnesses to parliamentary inquiries by the Chief Electoral Commissioner and has called on the State Parliament to remove limitations in the Ombudsman Act that prevent the Chief Electoral Commissioner from being investigated by the Victorian State Ombudsman.

A complaint has been lodged with the chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary Electoral Matters Committee which will review the submission which has been removed from the parliament’s web site.

The Electoral Matters Committee meets next Monday to consider this issue.

Open and transparency review suppressed

The Victorian State Parliament following a complaint from the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Steve Tully, has removed publication of submissions made to the Electoral Matters Committee. The submission which is critical of the conduct of the 2006 Victorian State Election raised concerns that the Chief Electoral Commissioner may have mislead the parliamentary committee in his evidence and report where the Commissioner claimed that copies of preference data files were destroyed during the last election, with an allegation that the Commission is engaged in an cover-up and avoidance exercise to prevent proper scrutiny of the 2006 State election.

The State Parliament has been called on to initiate greater oversight in the conduct of public elections following the disastrous errors in the computerized counting systems that occurred in the 2006 State election and the 2008 Municipal Elections.

The submission outlined issues of concern about the lack of openness and transparency in the computerized counting system introduced in Victoria and the failure of the Commission to provide copies of the preference data files and its failure to reconcile the total number of votes with the information recorded on the voting centre return declarations. As a result of this ommission the total number of votes recorded for the Western Metropolitan Region had changed between the primary count and the second count.

‘The Parliament needs to make sure that the total number of ballot papers recorded are reconciled with voting centre returns to ensure that all ballot papers are properly accounted for and that there is no repeat of the situation where hundreds of ballot papers go missing between counts as was the case in the Western Metropolitan Region. The Victorian Electoral Commission must be required to produce a reconciliation report of the voting centre declarations outlining the total number of ballot papers that have been issued and returned prior to the commencement of data entry of ballot paper preferences. All votes should issued and returned be accounted for on Election night.

Further the Parliament needs to investigate the data management process of the Electoral Commission following evidence that copies of the detailed preference data files had been overwritten and were not available for independent review or scrutiny. “It is conceivable that the Electoral Commission did not maintain backup copies this crucial and important data. It costs Millions of dollars for the Commission to collate this information. Any professional IT management would ensure that all crucial data in the vote counting was backed-up as a matter of course as part of a disaster recovery plan. If backup copies were not made then there are major issues that need to be reviewed.”

The submission, which was pulled from publication on Friday, called on the State government to restore public confidence in the conduct of electrons in Victoria by ensuring that the public elections remain open and transparent and that crucial information is readily available and that the Victorian Electoral Commission is held accountable for its actions.

The submission also outlines a serious complaint of ongoing harassment and intimidation against witnesses to parliamentary inquiries by the Chief Electoral Commissioner and has called on the State Parliament to remove limitations in the Ombudsman Act that prevent the Chief Electoral Commissioner from being investigated by the Victorian State Ombudsman.

A complaint has been lodged with the chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary Electoral Matters Committee which will review the submission which has been removed from the parliament’s web site.

The Electoral Matters Committee meets next Monday to consider this issue.

Open and transparency review suppressed

The Victorian State Parliament following a complaint from the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Steve Tully, has removed publication of submissions made to the Electoral Matters Committee. The submission which is critical of the conduct of the 2006 Victorian State Election raised concerns that the Chief Electoral Commissioner may have mislead the parliamentary committee in his evidence and report where the Commissioner claimed that copies of preference data files were destroyed during the last election, with an allegation that the Commission is engaged in an cover-up and avoidance exercise to prevent proper scrutiny of the 2006 State election.

The State Parliament has been called on to initiate greater oversight in the conduct of public elections following the disastrous errors in the computerized counting systems that occurred in the 2006 State election and the 2008 Municipal Elections.

The submission outlined issues of concern about the lack of openness and transparency in the computerized counting system introduced in Victoria and the failure of the Commission to provide copies of the preference data files and its failure to reconcile the total number of votes with the information recorded on the voting centre return declarations. As a result of this ommission the total number of votes recorded for the Western Metropolitan Region had changed between the primary count and the second count.

‘The Parliament needs to make sure that the total number of ballot papers recorded are reconciled with voting centre returns to ensure that all ballot papers are properly accounted for and that there is no repeat of the situation where hundreds of ballot papers go missing between counts as was the case in the Western Metropolitan Region. The Victorian Electoral Commission must be required to produce a reconciliation report of the voting centre declarations outlining the total number of ballot papers that have been issued and returned prior to the commencement of data entry of ballot paper preferences. All votes should issued and returned be accounted for on Election night.

Further the Parliament needs to investigate the data management process of the Electoral Commission following evidence that copies of the detailed preference data files had been overwritten and were not available for independent review or scrutiny. “It is conceivable that the Electoral Commission did not maintain backup copies this crucial and important data. It costs Millions of dollars for the Commission to collate this information. Any professional IT management would ensure that all crucial data in the vote counting was backed-up as a matter of course as part of a disaster recovery plan. If backup copies were not made then there are major issues that need to be reviewed.”

The submission, which was pulled from publication on Friday, called on the State government to restore public confidence in the conduct of electrons in Victoria by ensuring that the public elections remain open and transparent and that crucial information is readily available and that the Victorian Electoral Commission is held accountable for its actions.

The submission also outlines a serious complaint of ongoing harassment and intimidation against witnesses to parliamentary inquiries by the Chief Electoral Commissioner and has called on the State Parliament to remove limitations in the Ombudsman Act that prevent the Chief Electoral Commissioner from being investigated by the Victorian State Ombudsman.

A complaint has been lodged with the chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary Electoral Matters Committee which will review the submission which has been removed from the parliament’s web site.

The Electoral Matters Committee meets next Monday to consider this issue.

Memo to Brumby: Parliament is Supreme not government

Open and transparent accountable government is essential to good governance

There is no need for a ongoing Commission on Corruption as recommended by Craig Langdon, a disenfranchised member of Parliament who has lost pre-selection, there never the less is ongoing serious concern about the Brumby government and their consistent attempts to undermine and prevent Parliamentary and independent review of government.

However John Brumby’s refusal to subject Government to open independent review is a real concern.

The Victorian Government has recently attacked and undermined the role of the office of the Ombudsman and even brought into question the right of parliament to undertake a review. To add to this concern Brumby has also refused to subject the Victorian Electoral Commission to review making it accountable to Ombudsman.

It is difficult for any government to undertake or support any review of the electoral commission without running the risk of being accused of interfering and intimidating the electoral office. The Victorian Chief Electoral Commissioneris an officer of the Parliament and as such is not readily subjected to government oversight. Whilst we do not assert there is overt corruption in the Victorian State Electoral Commission there are issues of serious concern related to the administration and the competence of the Electoral Commission. The Parliamnatary committee review of the conduct of the 2006 State election failed to address a number of serious flaws and omissions in the conduct of public elections.

The actions of the Chief Commissioner in seeking to deflect criticism over in the way in which municipal and state elections are conducted in Victorian is a real concern. The Chief Commissioner in his report to parliament has raised a number of issues that parliament has either swept over, ignored to buried their head in the sane. The Chief Commissioner has gone as far as false allegation as part of an ongoing attempt to harass witnesses to the Parliamentary inquiry. Complaints have been made to the parliament but the parliament has failed to undertake a proper review of the Commissioner’s actions. Never the less there are issues that need to be and should be properly addressed. The office of the Ombudsman in the absence of a parliamentary investigation is the appropriate body to undertake such a review.

Public elections are no longer open and transparent. The administration of the Victorian State Electoral Office is not subjected to the normal processes of review as is the case with other government administrations.

The parliamentary committee on Electoral Matters, now headed buy Robin Scott is aware of the issues but have failed to subject the Electoral Commission to the review by the Ombudsman. Parliament has not at red top amend the Ombudsman act which as it stands removes the Electoral Commission from its jurisdiction.

To make matters worst the Office of Public Prosecutions headed by John Cain Jr. has sought to prevent public comment and discussion on the states administration by seeking to imtimmidate independent media reports on the role and conduct played by the Victorian Electoral Commission. A public body that is in serious need of review and is not held accountable for its actions.

This along with recent reports that the Government is questioning the right of the Victorian parliament to undertake a review in the Legislative Council is of real concern. It removes the avenue of transparency and accountability of government.

Brumby’s refusal to subject government administration to review, his attacks on the office of the ombudsman and the recent attempt to prevent the parliamentary inquiries allows corruption to take root and fester.

Memo to Brumby: Parliament is Supreme not government

Open and transparent accountable government is essential to good governance

There is no need for a ongoing Commission on Corruption as recommended by Craig Langdon, a disenfranchised member of Parliament who has lost pre-selection, there never the less is ongoing serious concern about the Brumby government and their consistent attempts to undermine and prevent Parliamentary and independent review of government.

However John Brumby’s refusal to subject Government to open independent review is a real concern.

The Victorian Government has recently attacked and undermined the role of the office of the Ombudsman and even brought into question the right of parliament to undertake a review. To add to this concern Brumby has also refused to subject the Victorian Electoral Commission to review making it accountable to Ombudsman.

It is difficult for any government to undertake or support any review of the electoral commission without running the risk of being accused of interfering and intimidating the electoral office. The Victorian Chief Electoral Commissioneris an officer of the Parliament and as such is not readily subjected to government oversight. Whilst we do not assert there is overt corruption in the Victorian State Electoral Commission there are issues of serious concern related to the administration and the competence of the Electoral Commission. The Parliamnatary committee review of the conduct of the 2006 State election failed to address a number of serious flaws and omissions in the conduct of public elections.

The actions of the Chief Commissioner in seeking to deflect criticism over in the way in which municipal and state elections are conducted in Victorian is a real concern. The Chief Commissioner in his report to parliament has raised a number of issues that parliament has either swept over, ignored to buried their head in the sane. The Chief Commissioner has gone as far as false allegation as part of an ongoing attempt to harass witnesses to the Parliamentary inquiry. Complaints have been made to the parliament but the parliament has failed to undertake a proper review of the Commissioner’s actions. Never the less there are issues that need to be and should be properly addressed. The office of the Ombudsman in the absence of a parliamentary investigation is the appropriate body to undertake such a review.

Public elections are no longer open and transparent. The administration of the Victorian State Electoral Office is not subjected to the normal processes of review as is the case with other government administrations.

The parliamentary committee on Electoral Matters, now headed buy Robin Scott is aware of the issues but have failed to subject the Electoral Commission to the review by the Ombudsman. Parliament has not at red top amend the Ombudsman act which as it stands removes the Electoral Commission from its jurisdiction.

To make matters worst the Office of Public Prosecutions headed by John Cain Jr. has sought to prevent public comment and discussion on the states administration by seeking to imtimmidate independent media reports on the role and conduct played by the Victorian Electoral Commission. A public body that is in serious need of review and is not held accountable for its actions.

This along with recent reports that the Government is questioning the right of the Victorian parliament to undertake a review in the Legislative Council is of real concern. It removes the avenue of transparency and accountability of government.

Brumby’s refusal to subject government administration to review, his attacks on the office of the ombudsman and the recent attempt to prevent the parliamentary inquiries allows corruption to take root and fester.

Memo to Brumby: Parliament is Supreme not government

Open and transparent accountable government is essential to good governance

There is no need for a ongoing Commission on Corruption as recommended by Craig Langdon, a disenfranchised member of Parliament who has lost pre-selection, there never the less is ongoing serious concern about the Brumby government and their consistent attempts to undermine and prevent Parliamentary and independent review of government.

However John Brumby’s refusal to subject Government to open independent review is a real concern.

The Victorian Government has recently attacked and undermined the role of the office of the Ombudsman and even brought into question the right of parliament to undertake a review. To add to this concern Brumby has also refused to subject the Victorian Electoral Commission to review making it accountable to Ombudsman.

It is difficult for any government to undertake or support any review of the electoral commission without running the risk of being accused of interfering and intimidating the electoral office. The Victorian Chief Electoral Commissioneris an officer of the Parliament and as such is not readily subjected to government oversight. Whilst we do not assert there is overt corruption in the Victorian State Electoral Commission there are issues of serious concern related to the administration and the competence of the Electoral Commission. The Parliamnatary committee review of the conduct of the 2006 State election failed to address a number of serious flaws and omissions in the conduct of public elections.

The actions of the Chief Commissioner in seeking to deflect criticism over in the way in which municipal and state elections are conducted in Victorian is a real concern. The Chief Commissioner in his report to parliament has raised a number of issues that parliament has either swept over, ignored to buried their head in the sane. The Chief Commissioner has gone as far as false allegation as part of an ongoing attempt to harass witnesses to the Parliamentary inquiry. Complaints have been made to the parliament but the parliament has failed to undertake a proper review of the Commissioner’s actions. Never the less there are issues that need to be and should be properly addressed. The office of the Ombudsman in the absence of a parliamentary investigation is the appropriate body to undertake such a review.

Public elections are no longer open and transparent. The administration of the Victorian State Electoral Office is not subjected to the normal processes of review as is the case with other government administrations.

The parliamentary committee on Electoral Matters, now headed buy Robin Scott is aware of the issues but have failed to subject the Electoral Commission to the review by the Ombudsman. Parliament has not at red top amend the Ombudsman act which as it stands removes the Electoral Commission from its jurisdiction.

To make matters worst the Office of Public Prosecutions headed by John Cain Jr. has sought to prevent public comment and discussion on the states administration by seeking to imtimmidate independent media reports on the role and conduct played by the Victorian Electoral Commission. A public body that is in serious need of review and is not held accountable for its actions.

This along with recent reports that the Government is questioning the right of the Victorian parliament to undertake a review in the Legislative Council is of real concern. It removes the avenue of transparency and accountability of government.

Brumby’s refusal to subject government administration to review, his attacks on the office of the ombudsman and the recent attempt to prevent the parliamentary inquiries allows corruption to take root and fester.

State Government: Avoidance is best policy?

The Victorian State Government avoids review of conduct of Municipal Elections

In a letter received by Mr Dan O’Brien, Victorian State Premier John Brumby’s Chief of Staff, dated Wednesday April 14, 2010 Mr O’Brien indicated that the Government does not intend on holding a review into the 2008 Municipal elections thus avoiding any potential embarrassment that an inquiry would expose. There are a number of issues and complaints related to the conduct of the 2008 Municipal elections and the lack of transparency in the election process.

It’s been just under 18 months since Victoria went to the polls to elect it’s local government representatives. 18 months and the parliament still has not initiated a review and it is unlikely to do so willingly.

The State Government is facing an election year and wishes to avoid any controversial issues. If a parliamentary review into the 2008 Municipal elections was held a number of issues that the government failed to address would be brought to the surface.

Closing their eyes, ears and mouth is not the sign of a strong confident or responsible government. The much needed parliamentary inquiry into the 2008 Municipal elections should be held without delay.

— Extract of letter of avoidance —

Dear Mr van der Craats

Thank you for writing to the Premier on this matter. The Premier has asked
that I respond on his behalf.

I note firstly your issues regarding the running of the 2006 state election
and the 2008 municipal election. The Parliament of Victoria’s Electoral
Matters Committee has been established to inquire into, consider and report
to the Parliament on any issues concerned with the conduct of parliamentary
elections and referendums in Victoria; the conduct of elections of
Councillors under the Local Government Act 1989; and the administration of,
or practices associated with, the Electoral Act 2002 and any other law
relating to electoral matters.

The Electoral Matters Committee tabled its Report to Parliament on its
Inquiry into the 2006 Victorian state election and matters related thereto
in June 2008. The Committee made a number of recommendations, including
recommendations pertaining to the counting of votes. The Government has
responded to the Inquiry – both this response and Report can be viewed on
the Committee’s website, http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/emc/.

The Committee is not currently conducting an inquiry into the 2008
municipal elections. A matter can, however, be referred to the Committee
for inquiry by a resolution of either House of Parliament if it is
considered that an inquiry is necessary. Alternatively, the Committee may
self-reference an inquiry if it believes a matter is of substantial
concern.

Yours sincerely

Dan O’Brien
Chief of Staff