Revealed: Libs plan to ‘suck in’ target voters

Feb 26, 2015, updated Mar 29, 2021
A new Liberal unit run from leader Steven Marshall's office aims to make MPs such as Tim Whetstone (far left) more tech-savvy

A new Liberal unit run from leader Steven Marshall's office aims to make MPs such as Tim Whetstone (far left) more tech-savvy

An electronic dossier of target voters is being compiled by a newly-established Liberal Party operations unit formed to “ensure the party wins enough seats”, InDaily can reveal.

A 17-page document obtained by InDaily details a five-member “Liberal Members Secretariat” (LMS), with extra positions still vacant for elected members to participate.

“The over-arching objective of LMS is to ensure that Members are re-elected at the 2018 State Election and that the State Liberal Party wins enough seats to form Government,” the document emphasises.

“The fundamental role of LMS is to provide SA Liberal Members of Parliament, and their staff, with additional support over the next three years.”

It reveals Opposition Leader Steven Marshall’s office has established a “good relationship” with Adelaide-based web architects Klik, who have built a new site for the leader and “have offered to build Members’ sites at a discounted rate of approx. $3360”.

The document also offers to train MPs and staff in use of ‘Nation Builder’, “an electronic program where we can import emails and build profiles on voters”.

Synced with emails and social media, “it will track what people are liking, what they’re commenting on and add all this information to their individual profiles”.

Marshall’s site, the document details, is “hosted” by Nation Builder.

“Anyone who leaves a comment on Steven’s website is ‘sucked in’ by Nation Builder, and a profile is created for them,” the document says.

The commenters can then be “tagged” as having an interest in certain issues, such as an Emergency Services Levy petition or compensation for CFS volunteers.

“This is not only helpful now, but will be very useful prior to an election when we want to target certain people with specific messaging,” the document explains.

These ‘target’ voters are sent “email blasts”, with the program keeping records on how many emails are opened and how many recipients subscribe.

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Steven Marshall's website

Steven Marshall’s website

The Liberal Members Secretariat consists of staff from Marshall’s office, including former Channel 9 journalist Selga Berzins, Alex May, Anton Radosevic  and one-time Ashford candidate Penny Pratt, along with Scott Kennedy, who works for Liberal whip John Gardner.

It promises to provide an “important research function” for MPs, offering to compile and maintain “talking points on current issues, speakers’ notes for parliamentary contributions, cost of living data, a dossier of Labor commitments and a list of Labor’s broken promises and backflips”.

It also aims to bring some of the party’s less tech-savvy members into the modern age, offering to produce a social media ‘How To’ guide on “engaging on Facebook, connecting with voters through Twitter, Instragram and Pinterest (and) building and maintaining an effective photo library”.

“Facebook has around 12 million monthly active users in Australia and should be a key part of every Member’s communication plan,” the document states.

“LMS can help members set up a public Facebook account and show them how to use it effectively.”

The dossier provides a similar crash-course on other social media, revealing to technophobe MPs that “Twitter is an essential social media tool”.

“When a tweet is re-tweeted by other Members, it exposes our message to more people,” it explains.

A screenshot contained in the document details Liberal staff who have earned the most “political capital” online, with Marshall’s chief of staff James Stevens and regular social media enthusiasts Heidi Harris and Demi Cassiani scoring strongly.

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