Monday, July 26, 2010

Liberal organisational failure leads to candidate chaos

The disendorsement of a Liberal candidate for making anti-Muslim comments is a story of organisational incompetence.

David Barker became the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Chifley in Sydney's west because no other candidates could be found. He was endorsed directly by the state office rather than pre-selected by the local Liberal branch.

A Liberal party source was quoted in The Australian  as saying 'Mr Barker was a vulnerable disability pensioner' and the source was 'critical of party officials for failing to predict he would not withstand media scrutiny'.

Identifying himself as a Christian, Mr Barker's comments did not assist serious Christian engagement in the political process. 'When I get in, I will give my votes, all of them, to God who is on the side of the Liberal Right...' is just one example.

This incident has raised questions of due-diligence in candidate selection but it also points to the strain placed on party structures as they seek to run candidates across the nation.

Smaller parties, while hopefully avoiding this kind of mistake, are struggling to not only get candidates up and running but to communicate with the media and the electorate.

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