Image credit: Samuel Zeller

The Labor Party has a file on you. It contains basic information about where you live, your age and, possibly, your occupation -- all provided by the Australian Electoral Commission in electronic form. The file also includes:

  • who you live with;
  • your phone number;
  • anything publicly available about you;
  • you Facebook profile;
  • your Twitter account;
  • your LinkedIn account, should you be so dumb as to have one;
  • whether you're on the P&C of your kids' school; and
  • any interaction you've ever had with Labor -- from doorknocking, to a letter you wrote to a Labor MP, to a phone call during an election campaign.

And you have been tagged by your demographic, your location and, to the extent possible, what kind of voter they think you are. They're most interested in you if you're a swinging voter. If you're a rusted-on Labor or Liberal or Greens voter, they don't care as much, although they might be interested in you as a possible donor or volunteer.

The Liberals have a similar file, on a similar database. The Greens do, too. They're expensive to maintain, particularly given the cost of scraping social media profiles, but they're invaluable in campaigning and advertising.