Project One – The South Australian Research
This is the original research carried out by John Black while working on state and federal ALP campaigns in eastern Adelaide between 1971 and 1977. During the early part of this period, Black was a politics student at Flinders University under Neal Blewett and Dean Jaensch, who co-wrote Playford to Dunstan.
Black then became an adviser to the ALP Deputy Premier Des Corcoran and ALP Premier Don Dunstan. During this period Black profiled the 1973 and 1975 SA state elections and devised the original version of elaborate, drawing from the work of Blewett and Jaensch and UK work by Butler and Stokes.
Black provided demographic advice to the Cabinet Campaign Committee for 1977 on demographic and spatial targeting and the refinement of local campaign techniques, such as swinging voter campaigns and voter enrolment drives. These techniques involved the first amalgamation of printed street order electoral rolls, the telephone white pages and the Australian census, to locate and target key groups both centrally and down to the local street level.
This work laid the foundation for the early versions of campaign software, which has since evolved into the more individually focused product used by all major parties. In the early days this was all done with paper and pen, craft glue, scissors and hand held calculators. Data was stored on punch cards in shoe boxes and super computers for the major number crunching programs had to run overnight to complete calculations which now take seconds on a home computer.
Black delivered a series of papers on these profiling and campaign techniques to the ALP Federal campaign committee between 1974 and 1977 and prepared the demographic research component of the ALP submission to South Australia’s first one vote value electoral redistribution.
The late John Lockwood assisted with the statistical analysis and data preparation for this work and Kevin Harris advised on the geographical implications.
Read more…PROJECT 1 – SA 1973 to 1977