The Australian ‘‘whiz kid’’ who helped run Barack Obama’s grassroots re-election campaign, Patrick Batchelor, is bringing his expertise to Sydney for the federal election.
Taking a leaf from the Obama re-election playbook, Labor has established a 40-seat call centre at its new campaign headquarters in Parramatta, modelled on those used by the Democrats during last year’s presidential race.
The centre was designed by Mr Batchelor, the 27-year-old son of the former Labor MP and NSW upper house president Meredith Burgmann.
Mr Batchelor spent last year’s US election campaign running the Democrats’ volunteer call centre in Texas, but is credited with being a leader of the national grassroots operation. He later wrote a paper for the NSW Labor party on how it worked.
NSW Labor’s general secretary, Sam Dastyari, announced in December that the party would relocate its headquarters from Sussex Street in the Sydney CBD to Parramatta in a bid to ‘‘go back to our roots’’ and reconnect with voters.
The new headquarters at Gough Whitlam Plaza started work on Monday as the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, began the first day of her week-long blitz on western Sydney.
The call centre will be manned with volunteers who are expected to begin hitting the phones within weeks.
The Obama campaign employed a range of techniques to target potential voters.
One sought to match the profile of a caller to lists of voters in the hope that similar life experiences or backgrounds may allow them to be more persuasive in urging a vote for Mr Obama.
The local version is likely to use volunteers staffing the call centre to build a database of undecided voters which Labor will use for targeted campaigning.