AUSTRALIA | Watchdog for the people: 50 years of the Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Ombudsman marked its 50th anniversary on 30 October 2023, and to celebrate this milestone a report outlining its history had been tabled in Parliament on 31 October 2023. "Watchdog for the People | 50 Years of the Victorian Ombudsman" tracked the fascinating social, political and historical context for the establishment of the Victorian Ombudsman as well as the evolution of the Office and its powers.

Each Ombudsman faced unique challenges and played a part in consolidating the foundations of how to address the imbalance between the power of the State and that of the ordinary person. At the time, there was no easy recourse to remedy administrative injustices. This simple but critical purpose has endured and resulted in benefits to hundreds of thousands of people across the state and beyond.

A gruelling ten-year campaign to establish the Ombudsman began in the 1960s and was marked with Alan Missen, an active member of the Victorian Liberal Party, visiting New Zealand Ombudsman, Sir Guy Powles while on his honeymoon in 1963. Debate about the appropriate powers and qualities of an Ombudsman continued until 1973, championed by Labor leader Clive Stoneham and Country Party Legislative Councillor Michael Clarke, when the Liberal Party’s newly elected leader, Rupert Hamer, instigated a progressive agenda, including the passing of the Ombudsman Act.

The history then follows each decade since, charting the contribution and priority each Ombudsman made during their term. Starting with the inaugural Ombudsman Sir John Dillon who was concerned with establishing the ‘authority and reputation’ of the office of the Ombudsman and had to sell ‘it and its occupant’ to the public.

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To read the report "Watchdog for the People | 50 Years of the Victorian Ombudsman", kindly refer to the download section below.


Source: The Victorian Ombudsman, Australia

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