The VEC shares its new regulatory approach - constructive compliance at its centre

Friday 7 October 2022

For immediate release


Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM

This November, Victorians will elect the 60th Parliament of Victoria. This is a busy and exciting time for candidates, political parties and others as they begin campaigning.

Those campaigning must follow the rules set out in the law, particularly when it comes to authorising their electoral campaign material, signage, avoiding any false and misleading content in relation to casting a vote, and — for the first time this State election – making and receiving political donations.

I am acutely aware that Victorians rightly expect my office to take its role seriously – in not just conducting State elections, but also ensuring all election participants play by the rules. It is important all those participants know what the rules are.

Accordingly, today I am publishing the Victorian Electoral Commission’s regulatory approach - to provide transparency and predictability in our compliance responses. We have taken feedback from the public on board, and this has matured and improved our responses to non-compliance with the law. This marks an important reset of the VEC’s approach that is consistent with the practice of modern regulators.

Most Victorians require minimal support to comply with their obligations under the Electoral Act. Our priority is to educate and support electoral participants to meet their obligations. Where education and support fail to address non-compliance, or we believe an offence has been committed, the VEC will investigate or take action that is in balance  with the level of harm. We will also refer matters to other State and Federal integrity and enforcement bodies where needed.

All these steps must be proportionate, and consistent with the law and natural justice.

In anticipation of an expected increase in complaints this State election, I have bolstered the size of the VEC’s compliance team. Matters requiring further inquiry or investigation can take time, and complex matters can extend to many months. We won’t make public comment on investigations that may compromise fairness or prejudice any further action.

Given that the 2022 State election is the first election under Victoria’s new funding and disclosure laws, these new laws will be an important priority area for the new regulatory approach. Key focus areas will be non-monetary disclosures, disclosures on fundraising events, and donations that are not disclosed within 21 days and those that exceed the general cap of $4320. It is critical for electoral participants to be alert to these obligations.

I trust the publication of the VEC’s regulatory approach assists all electoral participants to understand our approach to compliance, investigation, and enforcement, and I commit to its regular review. Further information is available on the VEC website at vec.vic.gov.au.

The publication of the VEC’s regulatory approach reflects my duty to transparently and properly administer the Electoral Act 2002, and safeguard Victoria’s democracy.