Alex Mitchell is a respected political journalist, but I could not help but feel the imprint of a tabloid pen when he wrote in the Sun-Herald (17-Sepr-06) that
The suggestion is that the Liberal Party machine, and Peter Debnam (Leader) used considerable political skill to find two seats for two very different people who both wanted the same seat! Greg Smith, supported by the powerful "religious right" faction, won preselection for Epping. Ms Pru Goward, supported by PM John Howard and Peter Debnam, lost.
"after skilfully finessing seats for two of its highest profile candidates, the Coalition (Liberal-National Parties) has gained ballast, authority and perhaps greater respect."
Peter Debnam (Leader of the NSW Liberal Party) was quoted as saying
"Our system is democratic and it produces the best candidates
and the best results. We don't just plonk our mates in seats
like the ALP - we have a democratic process."
Democratic? - Mr Debnam worked behind the scenes to get Peta Seaton, current member, to NOT stand for pre-selection, and he later went on ABC News saying that he would (personally) interfere and discourage any other Liberals comtemplating pre-selection for the seat of Goulburn. He stated this was because HE wanted Ms Goward to be the Liberal candidate! Democratic?
Mind you, the NSW Labor Party is no better. John Watkins, Labor Deputy Premier for NSW issued a statement about the Liberal Party being "run from the shadows by the extremists". Perhaps, but NSW Party aparatchiks are selecting candidates for seats, bypassing local branches to do so. It dumped its current MP for Newcastle, Bryce Gaudry, for a candidate who has been a member for a few weeks!
Both Liberal and Labor Parties have been finger-pointing about lack of "democratic" processes in the other. They should take a good l-o-n-g look at themselves in the mirror!