Caretaker Conventions 2018

The Government will enter caretaker period in the lead up to the 2018 Victorian State election. Unless called earlier, the election is scheduled to be held on 24 November 2018. The caretaker period begins with the expiry of the Legislative Assembly at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, 30 October 2018 (or an earlier date if the Legislative Assembly is dissolved earlier).

Successive State and Commonwealth governments have recognised that special conventions should be observed during the caretaker period. These conventions recognise that, with the expiry of Parliament, the Executive Government cannot be held accountable for its actions in the usual manner. The key objectives of the caretaker conventions are to:

  • preserve the autonomy of an incoming government (in the event that the incumbent government is not returned)
  • ensure the State’s resources are used appropriately and not to the unfair advantage of the incumbent government
  • protect the political neutrality of the Victorian Public Service

The Guidelines on the Caretaker Conventions have been prepared to assist ministers, public servants and non-government parties understand their roles and responsibilities during the caretaker period. The Guidelines outline the caretaker conventions that will apply during the caretaker period and provide information on other matters relevant to the handling of government business during the caretaker period.

The caretaker conventions do not apply until the commencement of the caretaker period and have no impact on the way that the VPS performs its work until that time, subject to the need for the VPS to plan its work to take into account an upcoming caretaker period. Once the caretaker period commences, the VPS is required to continue to administer the government’s policies in their current form, and should not attempt to pre-empt the outcome of an election or modify its administration of government policy.

Information and assistance on the caretaker period and the Guidelines can be directed to DPC’s Office of the General Counsel by emailing or phoning 9651 5514.

Chris Eccles AO
Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet

Last updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2018