"NSW Labor will vet the personal, financial and political history of potential candidates for the first time to ensure they do not bring the party into disrepute." (Robertson to put candidates under spotlight, Sean Nicholls, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/7/12)
Now how would that work in practice?
Something like this, I imagine:
Mark Arbib: Hello, Potential Candidate. Please, don't be deceived - despite our youthful appearance, we're actually Venerable Party Elders. My name's Mark, and this is Eric. Do you know who we are?
Potential Candidate: Oh, yes. Mark Arbib and Eric Roozendaal. And, I might add, to know you is to love you.
MA: Very good. So you want to become a Labor politician?
PC: Yes, very much.
MA: How much do you want to become a Labor politician?
PC: What's the going rate? $139,544 per annum? And the electoral allowance? $41,110? That's $180,654 pa. That's how much. Oh, yeah, and I'd sell my sainted mother too.
MA: Well, I must say we're impressed, aren't we Eric? Your motives sound beyond impeccable. But first we've got to ask you some very important questions that relate to hardcore Labor values.
MA: I'm going to say a word and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your head, OK? Ready?
PC: I think I can guess already.
MA: OK, here's the word: 'Israel'.
PC: I know... 'vibrant'!
MA: Good boy! That means the rest should be a breeze. Eric?
Eric Roozendaal: Now keeping in mind this word association thing, what historical era comes to mind when I say the letters B... D... S...?
PC: Every time I hear those letters I'm transported back to... late thirties Germany: I see broken glass, Nazi stormtroopers, cowering Jewish shopkeepers... dreadful!
ER: Wonderful! Now when I say the words 'apartheid state' what comes to mind?
PC: South Africa, only South Africa, and nothing but South Africa.
ER: Excellent! And now for the taste test. Bring out the cups of hot chocolate, Mark. Right. Now I want you to take a sip from each of these two cups and...
PC: Excuse me... there's no need. The heavenly aroma wending its way into my flaring nostrils from the one on the right has to be... can only be... from Max Brenner's. I've been an addict for years.
Mark Arbib: Well, that's good enough for us, eh Eric? You've passed with flying colours. Welcome to the parliamentary Labor Party, young fella. Name your seat.
[*"[Mark Arbib] kept a tight rein on the state MPs. Julia Irwin, then member for Fowler, says he responded to a speech she gave on the rights of Palestinians by ordering her to take a trip to Israel and asking her to submit further speeches on the Middle East to him for clearance." (In Richo's footsteps, Labor's new Mr Fix-it, Deborah Snow, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/7/10); **On Roozendaal see my 14/11/11 post Witches Brew 7.]