Democracy is about more than just elections. Democracy is about elevating everyone’s voice and building the power of the many. A robust and fair liberal parliamentary democracy is important but democracy in the workplace, economy and community are critical to shifting power from a handful of unelected owners and managers to everyone more equitably.
1. Democracy is how we come together to make decisions about our common future. Democracy works because the more people are genuinely involved in making those decisions, the better the decisions are likely to be.
2. Representative and participatory democracy, in all of its manifestations, is about how we as Victorians collectively make decisions about our future. Democratic control over decision-making is the basis for governments’ legitimacy, and the quality of decisions that are made within the systems we create.
3. The disproportionate influence of wealth and capital on our democracy can in part be countered through regulation of political finance and lobbying, as well as providing adequate resources and robust freedoms for civil society.
4. Participation in democracy should not be limited to voting in elections. There must be opportunities for individuals and other organisations to participate in decisions affecting their lives, including in their workplaces and local communities.
5. Peoples' capacity for democratic engagement is built upon their economic emancipation, where freedom from poverty, work and exploitation open more opportunities for greater democracy.
6. Liberal parliamentary democracy has its limitations and social change can only be achieved through building power both inside and outside Parliament, through empowering social movements, and building workers' power in their workplaces.
7. The right to protest and dissent is inherent to the functioning of a democracy.
8. Community organisations and individuals, including public servants, should be able to participate in public debate without fear of retribution.
9. Parties' selection of candidates should be conducted transparently and democratically
10. Parliament should reflect the diversity of Victoria's society.
Democracy and Community Participation
1. Build democracy outside formal elections, including in workplaces, in communities and within member-based organisations.
2. Enshrine the rights to protest, strike and take political and industrial action as human rights.
3. Reduce the police's role in protests and strikes and remove the capacity for governments and police to arbitrarily restrict public gatherings for political purposes.
4. Ensure the democratic and civic rights of individuals, collectives and communities are protected in states of emergency.
5. Remove any restrictions on member-based organisations, including charities and unions, on their capacity to campaign and advocate during election periods, except for appropriate caps on donations and campaign expenditure.
6. Ensure that all government and executive consultation processes are open, accessible, well-publicised and well facilitated.
7. Expand democratic participation in executive decision-making through deliberative mechanisms including citizens assemblies, participatory budgeting and ballots on policy issues.
8. Incentivise the development of workplace democracy and, for major publicly funded projects, include workplace democracy mechanisms as conditions of contract.
Elections and Political Parties
9. Convert all single-member districts in all jurisdictions to multi-member divisions elected proportionally.
10. Minimise malapportionment and ensure as close to one-vote-one-value across all elections.
11. Universally adopt compulsory preferential voting with comprehensive savings provisions to prevent unintentional informal voting.
12. Abolish group voting tickets and any mechanism that compromises voters' ability to express their genuine preferences.
13. Adopt automatic and same-day enrolment.
14. Have fixed terms at each level of government.
15. Fully enfranchise 16 and 17 year old people, prisoners, Australian citizens overseas, and permanent residents and temporary visa holders resident in Australia for more than twelve months.
16. Remove the corporate and landowner franchise.
17. Remove any arbitrary cap on the number of local councillors in each local government area and for the number of councillors to be a standard ratio based on population.
18. Ban political donations, campaign expenditure and donations to any representative bodies, organisations or trusts for the purpose of supporting political campaigns from for-profit businesses and their directors.
19. Require political donations made by non-for-profit membership organisations including unions to be determined democratically and directly by its membership.
20. Maintain the cap on individual donations in state elections and introduce a cap for local government elections.
21. Have real-time disclosure of all political donations made over $1000.
22. Institute strict caps on campaign expenditure, implemented by each candidate per electorate and timely disclosure of significant campaign expenditure, to apply to political parties, candidates, and third-party campaigns equally.
23. Remove the criminal history disqualification from eligibility to run as a candidate in a state election.
24. Electoral commissions set and enforce minimum guidelines for transparent and democratic selection of candidates by political parties.
25. Electoral commissions implement more stringent transparency and annual reporting requirements for political parties as a condition of registration.
26. Publish all authorised political communications, including online and broadcast advertising, in real-time on a publicly searchable database.
27. Increase the per-vote reimbursable public funding level and provide access to public electoral, administrative and policy development funding for registered political parties on the basis of a sum per vote.
28. Strengthen privacy, telemarketing and spam regulations regarding political campaigning and review exemptions for political parties on the management of personal information. Increase the per-vote reimbursable public funding level and provide access to public electoral, administrative and policy development funding for registered political parties on the basis of a sum per vote
29. Introduce truth in political advertising laws.
Parliament and Cabinet
30. Ensure that the Parliamentary committee system is capable of robust oversight by, where practical, appointing a non-government chair to each standing policy committee, appointing a crossbench chair to standing integrity and oversight committees and ensuring every party in Parliament is represented on standing administrative committees.
31. Expand Victorian Parliament to improve representation and connection to local communities.
32. Adequately resource and remunerate elected officials at all levels of government and give remuneration tribunals the power to make determinations on all resourcing for elected officials, including staffing levels and accommodation.
33. Introduce a legislative and compulsory code of conduct for elected officials, including after the end of their term in office.
34. Appoint a Parliamentary standards commissioner who can investigate unethical behaviour by elected officials.
35. Better regulate and scrutinise the role, legal status, powers and appointment of political staffers and Ministerial advisers.
36. Introduce a five-year cooling off period to prevent Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, and their senior staff from engaging in lobbying for, taking an executive or management position in or obtaining a material benefit from any for-profit business which raises a potential and significant conflict of interest arising from their term in office.
37. Release of Ministerial diaries unredacted quarterly.
38. Allow MPs to debate amendments, make statements and ask questions on the substance of all bills.
39. Allow non-government MPs to introduce bills and motions for debate and parliamentary vote regularly.
40. Require governments to produce documents requested by Parliament in a timely fashion.
41. Allow public servants and government and major project contractors to provide information to MPs in the public interest, without fear of repercussions.
Integrity and Anti-Corruption
42. Build in open government principles and the presumption of proactive release of information in every level of government.
43. Strengthen the public's right to information by removing commercial-in-confidence exemptions from freedom of information requests.
44. Clarify and extend the powers of integrity and oversight institutions to allow them to effectively investigate corruption, police misconduct and misconduct in public office.
45. Give integrity and oversight institutions the power to self-initiate investigations into alleged misconduct or wrongdoing of any elected official, public sector executive, board member or appointee.
46. Remove the limits on public hearings for integrity bodies.
47. Prohibit governments from misusing public funds in a targeted, discriminatory way to increase their re-election prospects.
48. Require governments to make public the results of all market and social research and polling conducted using public funds.
Democracy, Integrity and Governance Policy as adopted by State Council 27th of November 2021