Complaints Guide

Complaints Guide

This guide is for members who have concerns with another member or a party body. If you have a concern, you should take appropriate action. You will be protected against victimisation if you do so.

If your concern is with a staff member, please contact the State Director at state.director@vic.greens.org.au.

If you are a volunteer or your concern is with a volunteer, please refer to the Volunteer Code of Conduct.

Your options depend on the nature of your concern.

Overview

  1. In all types of matters;
  2. If you have an interpersonal difficulty with another member;
  3. Incident Contact Persons;
  4. If you believe a member has committed misconduct;
  5. If you believe a member or party body has not followed proper process or has acted beyond their authority;
  6. If there is unlawful conduct;
  7. How long will it take;
  8. Our commitment as a party

In all types of matters:

You may attempt to deal with the issue informally yourself or ask another member to assist you to do so. Informal interventions should adopt a confidential, non-confrontational approach with a view to resolving the issue.

When dealing with an issue informally, it is advisable to:

  1. keep or obtain a full step-by-step account of the incident, including:
    • the date, time and location of the incident
    • the impact of the incident
    • the preferred resolution (be it an apology, a clarification of misunderstanding or a commitment to cease or change behaviours)
  2. speak or write to the other member or party body about your concerns
  3. provide an opportunity for the person or party body to reflect and respond
  4. keep a record of the intervention

You are not required to this; it is entirely up to you.

Contact Persons 

Contact persons are members who people can go to if they experience or witness an incident that impinges on their or another person’s safety and wellbeing, including sexual harassment and child abuse or neglect at any meeting, event or activity. Party bodies should try to ensure that there are contact persons of different genders. A person may seek help from any contact person, not only a contact person of the party body where the incident took place. 

The contact persons for State Council, ie the Committee of Management, are:  

Nyssa Sims State Convenor: convenor@vic.greens.org.au

Judy Cameron and Susan Meyer, State Co-Secretaries: secretary@vic.greens.org.au

If you have an interpersonal difficulty with another member:

Mediation can help

Mediation allows participants to come together to try to resolve personal differences. You can ask us to arrange a mediation if you have an interpersonal difficulty with another Victorian Greens member. All mediations are facilitated by an independent and qualified mediator.

  • Mediation is free and confidential
  • Mediation is not about investigating who is right and wrong
  • Mediations can be conducted over teleconference or by phone

If you would like to ask the Mediation Panel for help:

Email mediation@vic.greens.org.au and tell us:

  1. Who are you having difficulty with?
  2. Describe the problem.
  3. What outcomes would you like?

Please also tell us:

  1. Your full name, contact details and availability.
  2. Which branch do you and the other member belong to?
  3. Do you hold any positions within the Victorian Greens?

All of the Mediation Panel’s powers and procedures are set out in Chapter 8 of the Constitution (‘Mediation’) and Bylaw 3 (‘Mediation, Administrative Review, and Misconduct’).

If you believe a member has committed misconduct:

The Code of Conduct (Bylaw 1) sets out the behaviour expected of members, and includes the prohibition of sexual harassment, and harrassment and bullying.

If you want to make an allegation of misconduct against another member:

Email the Misconduct Panel Convenor at convenor.misconduct@vic.greens.org.au and tell them:

  1.  Who do you believe has committed misconduct?
  2.  What did they do?
  3.  Why do you believe it is misconduct?

An allegation made more than 180 days after the alleged conduct occurred must be dismissed unless it relates to matters of a sexual nature or exceptional circumstances warrant it not being dismissed. If in doubt, make an allegation and the Misconduct Panel will decide this.

An allegation is confidential and your identity will only be disclosed to persons outside of the Misconduct Panel where it is absolutely necessary and only if you have given your written consent. Breach of this confidentiality is misconduct.

If misconduct is found to have occurred, the member may be sanctioned and a Notice of Sanction (which sets out the misconduct and the sanction) provided to all members.

All of the Misconduct Panel’s powers and procedures are set out in Chapter 10 of the Constitution (‘Misconduct’) and Bylaw 3 (‘Mediation, Administrative Review, and Misconduct’).

If you believe a member or party body has not followed proper process or has acted beyond their authority:

If you want to have a decision reviewed:

Email the Administrative Review Panel Convenor at convenor.adminreview@vic.greens.org.au with a completed application form.

If you wish for a review of a decision made by Misconduct Panel under Constitution clause 89.13 or for a review of a decision of State Council under Constitution clause 91.2, you must make your application within 7 days of the decision.

If the Administrative Review Panel determines a breach has occurred, a remedy may be provided.

All of the Administrative Review Panel’s powers and procedures are set out in Chapter 9 of the Constitution (‘Administrative Review’), Constitution clause 92, and Bylaw 3 (‘Mediation, Administrative Review, and Misconduct’).

If there is unlawful conduct:

You are always free to contact an appropriate external body, including Victoria Police, the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

If you report the matter to an external body, the party will, so far as is reasonable, cooperate with any investigation.

If the party becomes aware of conduct that falls within mandatory reporting requirements (for example, in relation to child abuse), the party is legally bound to report the matter to an external body and will do so. The party may also make a report in other serious circumstances. You will be offered support if this affects you, as appropriate.

The Australian Greens Victoria (AGV) does not tolerate sexual harassment in any form or under any circumstances and is fully committed to eliminating such behaviours in our party.

How long will it take? 

The Administrative Review Panel and Misconduct Panel will keep you updated on the progress of your matter, and aim to deal with most matters within 30 days. You will be notified of the Panel’s decision within 24 hours of it being made.

Our commitment as a party

Our party acknowledges the legal, as well as moral, responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe, healthy and inclusive environment for our members and volunteers. One important way that we fulfil this responsibility is by ensuring that our complaints system works effectively.

The State Convenors will ensure that this guide is regularly provided to all members and employees, included in the materials provided to new members and new office bearers, and readily accessible on the Greenhouse.

This guide must be drawn to the attention of all participants at the start of every party meeting, event or activity. A link to this guide must be displayed prominently on all party online assets. If you have a concern about behaviour at any party event, activity or online space, you should take appropriate action and may ask any other member to assist you to do so.

The party is committed to an annual review of the compliance with and effective implementation of our complaints system. If you have any concerns or feedback about our complaints system, please contact the Constitution Review Panel at crp@vic.greens.org.au.