Refresh of political disclosure guidelines ahead of anticipated record workforce for the 2022 State election

Thursday 28 July 2022

For immediate release


More people will be able to be considered for work at the November State election as either a staff member or an election casual after updated political disclosure guidelines were published today.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is the independent umpire that conducts the State election and considers it important that it has appropriate safeguards in place to protect its impartiality. This has extended in the past to people who had been politically active in the past 15 years not being considered for employment due to the potential public perception of bias.

The VEC can lawfully refuse employment to people because of their political activities. Prospective employees or casuals must answer a series of questions, including if they have been a member of a political party in Australia, or publicly engaged in activities supporting or opposing a political party or candidate.

Following a review of the existing political disclosure guidelines, the VEC identified a number of opportunities such as reducing the timeframe from 15 to 5 years for consideration of certain political activities. The changes to the political disclosure guidelines are consistent with the position taken by other electoral commissions in Australia.

‘These sensible changes will allow the VEC to expand the number of Victorians eligible to work at this year’s State election and recruit a record pool of people to assist in delivering one of the largest events in our state this year,’ Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately said.

Political neutrality remains a cornerstone of the electoral process, and Mr Gately emphasised that some political activity would continue to rule out some applicants.

‘Anyone who has been a candidate or held a position in a parliament or local council in Australia in the last 10 years or has been a member of a political party in the last 5 years is automatically excluded from employment with the VEC,’ Mr Gately added.

All other political activity will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, someone applying for a job with the VEC will be asked if they have engaged in activity on a personal or professional level that supports or opposes a political party or their policies. This includes posting on social media; donating to a party or candidate; speaking at or attending a rally or political event; or volunteering for a party or candidate, to name a few common scenarios.

Further information on the VEC's political disclosure guidelines.

Media information

What’s new

The revised political disclosure guidelines will reduce the timeframe from 15 to 5 years for consideration of political activity and 15 to 10 years for nominating as a candidate at a local council, State, Territory or federal level.

Someone applying for a job with the VEC will be asked if they:

  • have nominated for or held a position in a State, Territory or federal parliament or a local council in the past 10 years
  • are currently or have been a member of a political party at a State, Territory or federal level in the past 5 years
  • have engaged in activities supporting or opposing a political party or candidate in an election at a State, Territory or federal level in the past 5 years
  • have engaged in activities supporting or opposing a candidate in a local council election in the past 5 years
  • have publicly engaged in activities supporting or opposing a political party’s or candidate’s policy position currently before the electorate
  • are currently or within the past 5 years have been a member of an advocacy or lobby group that supports or opposes a policy position currently before the electorate (excluding a union or a professional association).

Anyone who has held a position in a parliament or local council in Australia in the last 10 years or has been a member of a political party in Australia in the last 5 years is automatically excluded from employment with the VEC.

However, all other political activity will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and any person refused employment continues to have an option to request for a review of the decision.

The impact of the applicant’s political activity in the past 5 years will be considered against the requirements of the role they have applied for.

What activity might be considered as activities that support or oppose a political party, candidate or policy position?

Activities supporting a political party or candidate could include making financial donations, handing out how-to-vote cards, attending a political fundraiser, displaying political signage or acting as a scrutineer for a candidate or party.

Public activities supporting a policy position could include making public comment on radio or television, speaking at a rally, or posting and sharing political opinions on social media.