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Independent review of Victoria’s electoral and political donations system

The Review

On 12 May 2023, the Victorian Government announced the appointment of the Electoral Review Expert Panel (Panel) to examine ways to improve Victoria's electoral and political donations system.

The independent panel will review the 2018 amendments to the Electoral Act 2002. The Panel will also consider recommendations from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission's Special Report on corruption risks associated with donations and lobbying.

The review will consider potential updates to the Electoral Act 2002, including:

  • a cap on political spending
  • the impact on the amendments on third party campaigners, small community groups and not for profit groups
  • political donations disclosure returns
  • the effectiveness of electronic assisted voting.

The terms of reference of the Panel require the Panel to produce a main report and a supplementary report.

The Panel will submit the main report to the Minister for Government Services by 24 November 2023.

The Panel will also produce a supplementary report on political party administration. The Panel will examine whether minimum requirements are being fulfilled to qualify for public funding.

The Panel will submit a supplementary report to the Minister for Government Services by 24 February 2024.

The Panel

The panel will be chaired by Ms Elizabeth Williams, who was Victoria’s Deputy Electoral Commissioner from 2005 to 2021. Ms Williams will serve alongside Mr David Feeney and Ms Helen Kroger, who both hold extensive practical
experience in electoral matters and community advocacy as former Members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Elizabeth Williams (Chair)

Ms Williams served as Deputy Electoral Commissioner at the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) from 2005 to 2021. While at the VEC, Ms Williams led the implementation of the 2018 electoral and political donations reforms, and has extensive experience overseeing state and local government elections, legal and regulatory compliance and electoral funding.

Ms Williams now operates her own consultancy services on leadership, governance and electoral practice. She was recently appointed as a member to an Electoral Representation Advisory Panel to review the electoral structure of Victorian councils.

David Feeney (Member)

Mr Feeney is a former Member of the Commonwealth Parliament for the Australian Labor Party, serving as a Senator for Victoria from 2008 to 2013, and a Member of the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018. Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Feeney was ALP Assistant National Secretary, ALP Campaign Director for South Australia, Director of Strategy for the former Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Steve Bracks and Victorian Labor State Secretary.

Mr Feeney currently holds positions as a Senior Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a member of the Defence Council Victoria, and a member of the board of NIOA.

Helen Kroger (Member)

Ms Kroger has practical experience of electoral funding as a former member of parliament and in political party roles. She is a former Member of the Commonwealth Parliament for the Liberal Party, serving as a Member of the Senate for Victoria from 2008 to 2014. Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Kroger held various positions in the Liberal Party including State President Victoria Division of the Liberal Party from 2003 to 2006 and Vice-President of the Federal Liberal Party from 2005 to 2008.

Ms Kroger currently holds positions as Chairperson of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission, Director of Birches Early Learning Centre Pty Ltd and Deputy Chairwoman of the International Women’s Democrat Union.

Reviewed 01 June 2023

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