Election complaints

May 10, 2023

Complaint and dispute process under the Election Rules.


Complaints may be made by nominees, candidates, campaigners, scrutineers, electors or any other person reasonably connected or impacted by the Election.

Complaints may be about the application of the Elections Rules, the validity of an Election, whether a Candidate is a Victorian Traditional Owner or any other matter reasonably connected to an Election.

Most complaints are decided by the Returning Officer (even if it’s about a decision of the Returning Officer), using the process in Rules 53.8-53.13. This can include engaging a Peacemaker to assist in resolving the complaint.

Complaints that go straight to a Dispute Resolution Panel (Panel) are those about the validity of the Election and those about a Candidate’s Traditional Owner status.

All Returning Officer determinations of complaints can be referred to a Panel for review (similar to an appeal).

The Panel must be convened and make determinations using the process in Rules 53.20-53.25. This can include seeking advice from Peacemakers.

The Assembly Council is responsible for convening the Panel.

All determinations of the Panel are final.

Who can make a complaint (Rule 53.1)

The following people may make a complaint:

  • Nominee
  • Candidate
  • campaigner
  • scrutineer
  • Elector and
  • any other person reasonably connected with or impacted by an Election.

What can a complaint be about (Rule 53.2)

A complaint can be about:

  • the way the Returning Officer or the Assembly has applied these Rules
  • the conduct of any person connected to an Election
  • a challenge to the validity of an Election
  • a Candidate’s status as a Victorian Traditional Owner and
  • any other matter reasonably connected to an Election.

How can a complaint be made (Rules 53.3 and 53.4)

A complaint can be made in writing to the Returning Officer.

The complaint should include the reasons for the complaint and the persons involved.

When can a complaint be made (Rule 53.3)

A complaint can be made at any time during the Election, up to 7 days after the announcement of Election results. This is expected to be around 25 June 2023.

Who resolves complaints (Rules 53.6 and 53.7)

The Election Dispute Resolution Panel resolves complaints related to:

  • whether a Candidate is validly elected or
  • whether a Candidate is a Victorian Traditional Owner or a Victorian Traditional Owner of Country in a Region.

The Returning Officer resolves all other complaints.

Determination by the Returning Officer (Rules 53.8 – 53.11)

The Returning Officer must follow Rules 43.8 – 53.11 when making a determination on a complaint.

Review of determination by the Returning Officer (Rules 53.12 and 53.13)

A person who is involved in a complaint that is determined by the Returning Officer may apply to have this determination reviewed by the Election Dispute Resolution Panel.

A person must make this application with 5 days of being notified of the determination and must make this application to the Returning Officer.

Determination by the Election Dispute Resolution Panel (Rules 53.14 – 53.25)

The Council must convene a Panel to deal with certain complaints and applications for review of a determination by the Returning Officer.

The Panel must be constituted in the way set out in Rule 43.15 and satisfy the requirements related to impartiality and conflicts of interest in Rules 53.16 and 53.17.

Where a complaint or application for review is made to the Panel, the Returning Officer must provide all relevant information to the Panel within 1 business day of the complaint or application for review being made.

The Panel must follow Rules 43.20 – 53.25 when making a determination.

The Panel must make a determination within 14 days of receiving the complaint or application for review. A determination of the Panel is final.

Peacemakers (Rule 54)

The Council may appoint Peacemakers for the Election.

The role of Peacemakers is to seek to resolve complaints in a culturally-based way, including by seeking informal resolutions or de-escalating complaints wherever possible.

Rule 54 sets out the rules relating to Peacemakers.

Independent Election Administrator

Returning Officer 

Gavin Ryan 

e: fpav.returningofficer@gmail.com

m: 0403 336 829