It’s nearly 8pm on a Thursday night, 100 days out from the 2013 federal election, and 27-year-old ALP field officer Paddy Batchelor is working the phones inside NSW campaign headquarters in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta.

A world away from the pantomime cruelling his party’s hopes in Canberra, 50 ALP volunteers, many of them young and idealistic -- and all of them chuffed to be working out of Gough Whitlam Plaza -- are calling constituents in the party’s former heartland. They're urging a vote for the Gillard government.