Volunteer Rights & Responsibilities

AGV recommend all campaigns make a local version of this document, with updated contact details and share with all volunteers.

This document is be designed and distributed to all campaigns, put up in campaign offices and made available to volunteers online.

Volunteer Rights, Code of Conduct & Wellbeing

The following roles and responsibilities apply to all campaign volunteers within Victoria.

They are also subject to the broader constitution, bylaws, policies and legal obligations of the Australian Greens Victoria.

Greens Volunteer Rights

As a volunteer for the Victorian Greens, you have the right to:

  • A healthy, safe, and welcoming workplace;
  • Appropriate support and management;
  • Appropriate orientation and training relevant to your role;
  • Appropriate and adequate insurance coverage;
  • A well-defined job description, or well-defined description of tasks;
  • Access policies pertaining to volunteers and your role;
  • Access information on grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures;
  • Be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the campaign if negotiated prior to expenses being incurred; and
  • Be advised on opportunities to participate in campaign decisions.

Volunteer Responsibilities & Code of Conduct:

As a volunteer for the Victorian Greens, you must:

1. Be considerate

You will be working as part of a team. Your work will be used by other people, and this team, in turn, will depend on the work of others. Any decision this team takes will affect users and colleagues, and the team should take those consequences into account when making decisions.

2. Be respectful

This team and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution. Team members may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. The Greens expect members of the team to be respectful when dealing with all people outside the team, including those who oppose or disagree with us.

3. Be welcoming & inclusive

Inclusion is a radical political practice central to our values as a party. However it is a mistake to assume that practicing inclusion is always easy. We all find it easier to get along with people who are similar to us, especially when we are under stress. It is important during the campaign to be aware of people who might be left out or isolated due to social barriers associated with language, sexuality, colour, disability or otherwise. Our party is stronger in diversity. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated on any campaign.

4. Be collaborative

Collaboration is central to our work. This collaboration involves individuals working with others in teams within the Greens, and working with other internal and external projects. This collaboration reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we should always be open to collaboration.

5. Resolve differences gracefully

In most cases, disagreements should be solved personally and respectfully. In cases where that is not possible, the Harassment Policy procedure (see below) should be followed. AGV members are also reminded of the AGV Disputes and Grievance Procedure

6. If unsure, seek assistance

Projects occasionally go off the rails because individuals feel embarrassed to ask for help. Even if you think your question seems silly or that you should know the answer please ask. Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked questions should be responsive and helpful.

7. Step down considerately

Members of every project come and go. When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, in whole or in part, they should do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. This means they should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.

8. Data Confidentiality

The data maintained by the Greens in its offices and its systems is highly sensitive. You should accept that your access to Greens data and other systems will be limited to a strictly need to know basis. If you are given access to confidential material you must safeguard this at all times.

9. Developing procedures and related issues

Even if it's not obvious at the time, your contributions will impact on the work of others. Making changes to procedures, computer systems, infrastructure, policy, documentation, and translations without appropriate consultation and implementation planning may negatively impact on the work of others.

Depending on the severity of the action, consequences for breaching this code of conduct may include; removal from greens systems and platforms, reduced access to training and events, reduced delegation of tasks and flagging for membership review if applicable.

Harassment Policy

Every person who shares our vision for the future must be able to participate in our grassroots movement knowing that they are doing so in a safe environment. Everyone should expect to feel safe in all aspects of their lives.

The Victorian Greens are committed to making our movement safe and inclusive for all members, volunteers and supporters. Harassment in any form will not be tolerated.

Too often in this world, survivors are not believed when they come forward to speak about their experiences. We need to ensure that victims have clear people they can contact, that they will be believed, and that their claims will be investigated.

The below policy applies to all staff and volunteers involved in Victorian Greens campaigns and provide clear processes and contact points.

Safety & Wellbeing

At all times, the first priority is the safety and wellbeing of staff and volunteers, as well as the people they contact as part of Greens activities.

Definition of Harassment

Harassment includes any unwelcome behaviour that could be reasonably expected to make someone feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Harassment can occur in person, over the phone, and via email, text or other electronic or written forms of communication, including social media.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, forms of harassment include:

  • (a)  Physical contact;
  • (b)  Jokes at the expense of others;
  • (c)  Offensive language, shouting or behaving in an intimidating manner;
  • (d)  Gossip;
  • (e)  Slander;
  • (f)  Offensive, insensitive or sectarian songs or messages;
  • (g)  Obscene or offensive email and screen savers etc;
  • (h)  Coercion for sexual favours or sexually suggestive remarks;
  • (i)   Offensive comments or messages over social media;
  • (j)  Continued requests for social activities after it has been made clear that such
  • suggestions are not welcome; and
  • (k)  Verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Making a Complaint

A volunteer who believes they have been harassed (the complainant) should:

  • If comfortable to do so:
    • inform the alleged harasser the behaviour is offensive, unwelcome, and should stop;
    • Make a note of the date, time and location of the incidents/s;
  • If not comfortable to confront the alleged harasser or if unwelcome behaviour continues:
    • report to their chosen volunteer wellbeing coordinator (listed below); or
    • If this is inappropriate, speak to one of the further contacts (listed below).

Complaints Process

When a complaint is received, the chosen volunteer wellbeing coordinator will:

  • Obtain and record a full, step-by-step account of the incident/s;
  • Ensure that the complainant understands the process for handling the complaint;
  • Ascertain the complainant’s preferred outcome, e.g. an apology, the behaviour to cease, the alleged harasser to cease involvement in the campaign;
  • Agree on the next step: informal resolution or formal investigation; and
  • Keep a confidential record of all details of this discussion and subsequent steps in the process.

Any suspected breaches of the law must be reported immediately to the police and / or relevant authorities, as well as to the AGV State Director.

Informal Resolution

Where a complainant has chosen informal resolution, following an informal process the volunteer well-being contact will:

  • Inform the alleged harasser of the complaint and provide an opportunity to respond;
  • Ensure both parties understand their rights and responsibilities under the policy;
  • If possible, mediate an outcome that is satisfactory for the complainant;
  • Ensure that confidentiality is maintained; and
  • Follow up with the complainant to ensure the behaviour has not re-occurred.

Formal Investigation

If a formal investigation is requested by the complainant, or if an informal resolution fails, the volunteer wellbeing coordinator will escalate the matter to a more senior Greens contact.

That person will:

  • Afford natural justice to all involved;
  • Interview all directly concerned, individually;
  • Interview witnesses, individually;
  • Keep records of all interviews and investigation;
  • Ensure confidentiality of all parties involved;
  • Make a determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence that a reasonable person could conclude, on the balance of probabilities (i.e. it’s more likely than not), that an incident/incidents of harassment (as defined above) has occurred;
  • In such a case, determine appropriate action, which may include a change of duties for the harasser, change to working arrangements or, where the incidents were frequent and/or severe, dismissal;
  • Where it cannot be determined by the required test that an incident/incidents of harassment has occurred, may still take action to ensure the proper functioning of the workplace, but these actions should not prejudice any party;
  • Continue to closely monitor the situation and provide retraining where required; and
  • Check to ensure the action meets the needs of the complainant and organisation.

Outcomes as they affect the complainant will be discussed with the complainant to ensure that needs are met, where appropriate.

Greens Contacts

If you are being harassed, feel uncomfortable or have concerns for your safety or the safety of others, we recommend you contact the below contacts.

 

Name

Role

Phone

Email

Lu Allan

Campaign Liaison

0435 293 586

lucy.allan@vic.greens.org.au

Michael Poland

State Director

0419 581 748

headofcampaigns@vic.greens. org.au