A naughty ring of confidence wins pre-selection. What could go wrong?

Chair: Very good. A seconder?

Second voice: I concur. Very good teeth. Love the way he draws his lips right back to expose them to best advantage. Obvious candidate material.

Chair: Well then, I’m happy to put it to a vote.

Small voice: Umm, Dad.

Chair: Not now, Junior. We’re making an important decision for democracy here.

Small voice: But Dad, have you seen this stuff on Facebook?

Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for the interruption. Too much screen time. There ought to be a law. Where’s your mother?

Small voice (getting louder): You really better see this. [Thrusts his phone at the chair].

Chair: Yes. Lovely picture. Look at that smile. Ring of confidence, you might say. I can see it on a corflute. And the front-page of The Oz. Radiating. The committee has chosen wisely.

Small voice: No, it’s his posts.

Chair: He’s a postman?

Small voice: He says…awful things.

Chair: Of course he does. We need a fellow who can whack it to the Opposition. Awfuler the better, I say.

Small voice: But there’s stuff about migrants and trans people and he calls them pedo…pedo…

Chair: We all agree that pedestrians should get better treatment, and that includes New Australians and all those transiting from one place to another. Enlightened. A candidate who understands the modern world is just what we need. Run along now. Here’s some pocket money.

Small voice: But you haven’t even looked at his Twitter feed! Or the pictures on his Instagram! And he’s collected some really weird things on YouTube.

Chair: Listen here, whippersnapper. We’re not idiots. We know about social media. Our candidate here tendered his biography on LinkedIn. On a pad thing. How impressive is that?

Small voice: But LinkedIn is for people desperate to change careers. It’s not Facebook. Or Twitter.

Chair: Quite. We must move this thing along. We’ve got an election to fight. Now, all in favour of the candidate on the far right?

[A forest of hands shoots high, jewellery rattling].

Chair: Unanimous. Congratulations, sir. A surefire winner. Remind me, what was your name?

Small voice: On Facebook he calls himself Dual Citizen Schmitizen.

Chair: That is enough! Your mother deserves a good talking to for bringing you here!

Small Voice: And his Twitter handle is @SoWho’sANaughtyBoyThen.

Chair: Nothing further, ladies and gentlemen? Let the campaigning begin! We’ll get you a media adviser tomorrow, uh, Bjorn. We’re halfway there.

[The new candidate flashes a thousand-watt grin. And winks.]

Candidate: What could go wrong, Mr Chairman?

Tony Wright is the associate editor and special writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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