Last month, the Victorian Liberal Party completed its preselection of
candidates for the reformed Legislative Council (although the last
three regions haven’t been officially endorsed yet – read about the
others here.) As I reported at the time, the quality of candidates left something to be desired.

Complaints could also be made about the process – voting was
winner-take-all, so a factional majority could potentially determine
the whole ticket in a region (although in practice there were
compromises), and only delegates voted, not the membership as a whole.
Still, the basic conditions of democracy were met.

The Greens are currently engaged in selecting their candidates. As you
might expect from a party committed to participatory democracy, their
process is impeccably democratic and, as a result, fiendishly complex
(nothing that I could find on their website though.) Whether or not that will do anything for the standard of candidates remains to be seen.

Contrast both with the ALP, which plans to select its candidates with no local participation at all. As this morning’s Australian reports:

The move at Saturday’s state conference would have upper
house MPs selected by the party’s union-dominated central panel, with
no input from branch members.

The excuse given is that this is a “transitional” measure, necessary
because the move to the new voting system means there are more MPs than
seats in some areas, and “the fallout needs to be handled

But the Liberal Party had the same problem, and they managed to
accommodate it (the only sitting members to miss out were Chris Strong
and the hapless Andrew Olexander). They did not use it as an excuse to
throw away the rule book.

The Australian reports that there is considerable discontent
within the controlling Labor Unity at the move, and there may well be
some resistance at tomorrow’s state conference. But on past form, the
powerbrokers will get what they want, without any messy interference
from democracy.