Who Would Be MP If We Tested Their Intelligence?

Author: Paul Oates

Today’s Courier Mail News outlines the introduction of Psychometric testing by a political party to determine if a would be aspirant is suitable to be an MP.

But those who have used psychometric testing as part of a recruiting process might question if the testing itself could suffer from bias and be intentionally or unintentionally skewed?

Someone, somewhere must first determine what are the attributes that are required to be either selected or deselected by any psychometric testing. Ultimately, whoever determines what attributes are sought after could still be imposing some personality traits that the rest of the population may not necessarily consider desirable. Are those who make the selection any more suitable than those who are selected?

What would the voters prefer of their politicians I wonder? Honesty? The ability to speak in clear and concise terms. Accept blame when they have been found to have made a mistake? Be fully trained in whatever their ministerial or shadow duties they are responsible for?

But would the public then respect those politicians who acted honestly, told the truth and accepted blame. Would the media extol those personal virtues or castigate and tear apart any who tried to do the right thing by their constituents, all in the stated belief that the ‘public needed to know’ but in fact, in order to commercially sell newspapers and programs.

One may also ponder that with the ability to contact any MP at any time, anywhere with mobile phones, e mail, twitter, facebook, Blackberry and any number of communication devices, what kind of person would actually want to be an MP anyway? Given the constraints of the party system and the necessity to ‘horse trade’ behind the scenes with self interest groups and dubious financial assistance offers, is there any real opportunity to achieve anything anyway?

So in the end, will this initiative produce any better candidates than have been around before? And for that matter, who could be qualified to answer?

Maybe we all need to sit a psychometric test to determine if we are qualified to answer that question?

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LNP gives would-be MPs psychometric tests
By Steven Wardill, From: The Courier-Mail, November 30, 2010 7:19AM

LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek is introducing psychometric tests for candidates/ The Courier-Mail Source: The Courier-Mail

PROSPECTIVE Liberal National candidates are being forced to sit new-age intelligence tests to ensure they are smart enough to be politicians.

The Courier-Mail can reveal LNP candidates are being put through so-called ”psychometric tests” in a bid to weed out the unworthy.

The tests used by the LNP hierarchy specifically measure a person’s aptitude rather than concentrate on an individual’s personality traits.

Only people seeking preselection in marginal seats have undergone the tests so far, but existing MPs may face the same probe into their intellects.

LNP state secretary Michael O’Dwyer said the testing was part of a new strict vetting process to ensure candidates were up to the rigours of being an MP.

”What we are trying to do is get a very stringent process in place so the best candidates are coming through,” he said.

Mr O’Dwyer said he was unaware if such tests were used elsewhere in Australian politics, but they were introduced by the Conservatives in the UK.

”It is certainly a process that is way more thorough than what we have had,” he said.

”It is good at identifying those people who are good to go to pre-selection and will be good representatives of their local communities.”

He refused to reveal how many people seeking pre-selection had failed.

However, Mr O’Dwyer insisted delays resolving some pre-selections had been caused by huge interest in representing the party.

”We have been overwhelmed with the response we have had to nominations,” he said.

The LNP had been seeking to pre-select candidates in 34 seats held by Labor or Independents but are now only likely to complete about 25 before the end of the year.

Psychometric tests have become popular among big businesses seeking the right candidates for positions.

According to the Institute of Psychometric Coaching, aptitude tests had only one correct answer to each question and people were timed on how quickly they responded.

The tests measure a person’s ”fluid and crystalised intelligence”. Fluid intelligence refers to a person’s ability to think quickly or use their ”street smarts”, while crystallised intelligence means their ability to employ their knowledge from past experiences.

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