Preselection of election candidates

The Liberal Party has just preselected Greg Smith over Pru Goward to be its candidate for the state seat of Epping in the upcoming NSW election. The NSW Liberal Party preselects its candidates using a panel of representatives from the local branches rather than the local members voting directly or there being some combination of local voters and central executive committee votes.

Branch stacking has been part of both major political parties, especially when the goal is to preselect a particular candidate. It seems to me that it’s preferable for local members to directly vote in preselections – there’s no need for an intermediary panel when the number of local members is fairly small (at most hundreds). Having an intermediary panel allows local member’s preferences to be distorted.

4 Responses to Preselection of election candidates

  1. Oz says:

    According to today’s Sun-Herald Goward is going to be parachuted into the seat of Goulburn instead replacing Peta Seaton.
    The way to preselect is a debate that keeps on being raised. The small membership means that its easy to branch stack and usually the membership in most areas consist of aging members and those professionally involved in politics. In the UK, some are suggesting that some kind of primary system be implemented. Already there, the Labour leader is elected by a collegiate system of MPs, unions and rank and file membership.
    At the moment though, I’d just be happy with rank and file election of Senate and Upper House candidates and restrictions on the use of the N40 in NSW.

  2. Sacha Blumen says:

    Hey Oz, yes, preselection of candidates is a good question. Until Andrew Leigh mentioned how broad-scale preselection (as happens in the US) requires candidates to have lots of money I was in fravour of that. I don’t want a really good system is, except that I reckon you need some combination of
    (i) people really interested in the issues having an input (either local party member or party supporters, as in the US)
    (ii) people with a broad jurisdiction or nation-wide view having an input

    As a general rule, the more people that have an input into a preselection, the better. So I say that the entire party memberships should vote on senate, state upper house (where appropriate) and political party official candidates. At the very least, the ALP membership should vote on Senate candidates, state upper house MP candidates (where appropriate) the ALP officials such as President(s), Secretary, Executive members, delegates to various bodies eg Annual confererence.

  3. Guy says:

    I’d have to agree Sacha – I reckon the more people that have input, the better.

  4. Anne Sikimeti Latu says:

    Yes! but If we really want more on the topic we must participate, take our voice there, right in side. I think if we really want the best for our Community we must invite ourself to go in and put in what we think is best for the community.

    We must prepared to work hard at all level of the community’s issues. Still you are there with a voice as a representative of the many voices. It come down that who ever wish to have an interest should go there crystal clear and get into action. They are there with an intention and a purpose to take their community ahead, be prepared to provide services to meet community Needs with transparency and Accountability.

    In the UK, some are suggesting that some kind of primary system be implemented.

    The Labour leader is elected by a collegiate system of MPs, unions and rank and file membership.

    Whey not! We will never change that because we are not part of their party. It is up to follow the structure of their party. Period and if you not a member we have no say on that. They will only change for their party to benefit alone.

    Well they have to, they are members and they have every right to choose the best person to represent them to go for election. That should be a fair decision and it will be up to the members to put up their hand and it is up to the party to choose which one will be their best candidate.

    The ALP officials such as President(s), Secretary, Executive members, delegates are always invited to various forums eg Annual conference.

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