History

The office of the Victorian Ombudsman was established on 30 October 1973.

The Ombudsman's appointment came after years of consideration by government1. In 1962 Sir Guy Powles was appointed in New Zealand as the first Ombudsman outside of the Scandinavian countries and it is considered that the success of his office influenced Sir George Reid, the then Attorney-General of Victoria, to introduce the Ombudsman legislation to the Victorian Parliament.

The Victorian Ombudsman was the third Ombudsman office to be initiated in Australia, following the appointment of an Ombudsman in Western Australia (1971) and in South Australia (1972).

Since its inception, the Ombudsman's office has witnessed and influenced some major changes in the delivery of government services in Victoria and in the Victorian public sector.  While the office has also undergone some changes over the period, none of them have affected the core role and responsibilities of the Ombudsman.

Since 1973 the Ombudsman has drawn government's attention to significant issues of concern and helped to improve broader public administration by resolving individual grievances.

Timeline
October 1973 The Office of the Ombudsman established under the Ombudsman Act 1973; John Vincent Dillon appointed.
January 1977 Ombudsman (Municipalities) Act 1976 extends the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to local government.
October 1980 Charles Norman Geschke replaces Mr Dillon as Ombudsman.
January 1983 Freedom of Information Act 1982 commences - the Ombudsman provided with a role relating to specific matters under the Act.
May 1988 Deputy Ombudsman (Police Complaints) Act 1988 proclaimed, creating the position of Deputy Ombudsman (Police Complaints) and effectively replacing the role of the Police Complaints Authority.
July 1995 Dr Barry Perry appointed Ombudsman.
January 2002 Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 commences, extending the role of the Ombudsman to investigate and oversee investigations of whistleblower complaints.
May 2003 Robert Seamer appointed Acting Ombudsman.
March 2004 George Brouwer appointed Ombudsman.
June 2004 Ombudsman Legislation (Police Ombudsman) Act 2004 abolishes the position of Deputy Ombudsman (Police Complaints) and creates the office of Police Ombudsman.  This office is to be held by the person who is Ombudsman. The Act also increases the Ombudsman's powers to investigate Victoria Police.
November 2004 Major Crime Legislation (Office of Police Integrity) Act 2004 commences.  The Office of Police Integrity is proclaimed.  The Director, Police Integrity, replaces the Police Ombudsman.  The same person who holds the office as Ombudsman is to be the Director, Police Integrity.
May 2008 Appointment of a separate Director of the Offfice of Police Integrity.  The appointment separates the Office of Police Integrity from the Ombudsman's office.  George Brouwer continues appointment as Ombudsman.
December 2012 Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission established.
March 2014 Deborah Glass appointed Ombudsman.

 

  1. The first 'Ombudsman' appeared in Sweden in 1809 as the 'Defender of the people in their dealings with government'