What is Voices of Mornington Peninsula (VMP)?

VMP is a grassroots community organisation comprised entirely of volunteers who seek to engage residents of the Mornington Peninsula to promote participatory democracy at all levels of government: local, state and federal. VMP believes that better democracy leads to better policy and a better future for all. Political decisions affect us every minute of everyday - education, health care, environment, financial, energy, superannuation, employment, child care, goods and services, .... the list goes on. Your vote is the most powerful way to make a difference.

Fundamentally, VMP wants to ensure that the views of the residents of the Mornington Peninsula are heard and that their views are translated into action. That is, that our political representatives are meaningfully engaged in our community and act in our best interests. It believes that success can be achieved by electing an independent candidate who does not have to adhere to a political party line or behave in any manner that is contrary to their constituents.

VMP's role is to act on behalf of the community to find potential candidates who reflect the collective views of residents (established by surveys and kitchen table conversations) and to liaise with VMP members to facilitate the selection of the preferred candidate.

In order to function legally as a representative body as well as meeting community expectations, VMP has been set up as a public not-for-profit organisation with a constitution, a set of values and a code of conduct. All of these can be found under Governance on our website here.

Who started VMP?

In late 2020, a group of dedicated and concerned locals held initial meetings to discuss their disenchantment with the standard and disconnect of Australian politics. From those early meetings, a core group formed to establish Voices of Mornington Peninsula modelled on the very successful Voices for Indi. You can learn more about the directors here.

VMP now has a thriving network of members and volunteers across the Peninsula grouped into community ‘hubs’ as well as working groups to carry out the range of activities required to achieve participatory democracy. Our members come from all backgrounds and varying political persuasions and beliefs. The common thread is the overwhelming drive to see integrity, engagement, accountability and transparency as a minimum expectation of our politicians.

Where did the idea for VMP come from?

VMP was inspired by the community initiated Voices for Indi campaign that elected independent Cathy McGowan AO in 2013. She has been an outstanding example of what an independent politician can achieve. After two terms Cathy stood down and Indi’s independent success was continued by Helen Haines who was also endorsed by Voices for Indi. This was the first time in Australia’s federal electoral history that one independent had successfully succeeded another in a federal seat.  More info: https://voicesforindi.com/#why

Is VMP registered as a political party?

No, VMP is a people’s movement, not a political party. To ensure accountability, VMP is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, that has a set of rules (constitution), broad membership requirements, a code of conduct and a statement of values. Details here.

What does VMP do?

VMP aims to improve our democracy so that everyone can be heard. In practical terms we do this by:

  • increasing democratic functioning through listening to residents by holding ‘kitchen table conversations’ and surveys
  • collating the results of our conversations and surveys into a VMP: What Matters to You report so the collective views and priorities of the Mornington Peninsula are clearly identified and understood
  • informing and educating by inviting experts to talk to our community via events and forums so we can make evidence based judgments and seek solutions
  • finding potential candidates to represent us directly: of us, for all of us
  • facilitating the process of selecting the preferred candidate to be endorsed by VMP
  • continuing to engage with community and our representatives to ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial

How does VMP work?

VMP’s mission is to listen to the community and to be open and accessible to everyone. A team of members organises activities such as meetings, surveys and ‘kitchen table conversations’. By involving a range of people across the Peninsula, VMP can identify community views and priorities. This information is the basis for VMP members to select candidates who will best represent community issues and needs.

What is a ‘kitchen table conversation’ (KTC)?

A kitchen table conversation is an informal way of community being able to express their views. It usually involves a small group so everyone gets a chance to be heard. It can be held in a café, in a home or even in a park or via Zoom. The conversation is structured around a set of questions (VMP has eight).

The KTC’s are run by volunteers – one to run the meeting (the facilitator) and another to write down the answers (the scribe). It is not a political discussion. It is an opportunity to voice your wants, needs and concerns about living on the Mornington Peninsula, and to discuss the broader issues impacting Australia. You can also share ideas about how you’d like to be represented, what's needed from our government and how to shape a better future. KTC’s also seek to confirm what attributes are most desired in our political representatives. Importantly, the atmosphere of the conversations is one of respect, listening and understanding – not to debate opinions or argue. Everyone is there to be heard and everyone’s view is valued.  All information is confidential and the answers remain anonymous.

To book a kitchen table conversation check out the schedule here. The same questions can be answered via our online surveys here.

What is the purpose of surveys and KTC’s?

Our mission at VMP is to listen to our community to identify issues of importance, so that these views can be represented effectively at federal, state and council levels of government. All issues, opinions and information raised in the KTCs are anonymously recorded and will be compiled into a report that will soon be made publicly available. 

We wish to hear from a diverse range of individuals in our community. Every voice is important. We’d love to hear from you!

How do I join VMP?

The membership fee is $10. Join here. Members must adhere to the VMP values and code of conduct.

There are 3 levels of membership – regular, junior (13-18 years) and associate membership (for those not eligible to vote in elections of the Mornington Peninsula). Only regular members will be involved in the candidate selection information.

How can I get involved in the work of VMP?

VMP always welcomes new volunteers! As a 100% volunteer-powered organisation there are many ways to assist.

The first point of contact is to join a local hub to meet with other residents and discover how best to volunteer your time and skills. To join a hub, sign up here and you will be connected up with a friendly member who will introduce you to your hub.

If you have specific skills that you would like to contribute, please register your interest here 

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our mailing list so that you are up to date with VMP news and actions.

How do you select candidates?

VMP calls for expressions of interest and nominations for potential candidates. All correspondence and communications are treated with the strictest confidence. Applicants who meet the set criteria are then shortlisted by the VMP Chair and Directors after background checks and other standard procedures are undertaken.

The process to reach a decision on the successful candidate is then proposed by the VMP board and put to VMP members. Each case may be different for a variety of reasons. E.g. Number of suitable applicants, requirements for confidentiality (e.g. current employment of applicant), timing/lead up to election, requests of candidates etc.

Deciding to stand for your electorate is an exciting prospect however VMP is also acutely aware that it is a major step with many variables to be considered for the potential candidate. Families, livelihoods, associations, future community work and many other aspects can impact individuals. As a result, VMP endeavours to ensure that the process is robust and as thorough as possible and with as much member involvement as is practicable but with sensitivity and respect for the individuals who want to represent us.

You can read more about this here.


Any other questions?

Need to know more? Contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.