Yesterday, Crikey examined the long and winding road to ALP preselection, with the conclusion that it was almost impossible to snare a seat in federal parliament unless you were fiercely loyal to a faction, a morally-compromised former rock star, or both.

But it seems that across the benches in the Liberal Party the situation is almost as bad. Despite the "democracy" on display in Bradfield last Saturday, the grassroots doily conventions have been steadily eroded in favour of hand-picked or factionally-"flagged" candidates. In most states, hopefuls will have already jumped through numerous social hoops and fronted "pre-pre-selection" selection committees designed to weed out the rabble.