We’re only a few days out from the Federal election, with the news cycle in full throttle, anticipating what the results might be. Rob Tilt (feature image), director of NowLab at Isobar shares his view on how you can get involved, and why it’s so important.
Here at Isobar, we’re a pretty engaged bunch when it comes to politics, and we’re even more invested this year after the launch of one of our collaborative projects, The Perfect Candidate.
Launched last month, we delivered the project in partnership with Australian Futures Project, Roy Morgan and Cox Inall Change, our sister PR agency that specialises in Government and the not-for-profit sector.
The Perfect Candidate incorporates data from more than 125,000 Australians, mapped against policy statements from the websites of the political parties and independents, alongside analysis from the non-partisan Australian Futures Project.
Interestingly, the findings of the Roy Morgan data were at odds with the policies of most incumbent Members of Parliament, something that is surely important to share with Australian voters. But how?
We’ve brought the campaign to life through the blending of data, creativity and tech. The raw data has made for interesting reading (if you’re into that kind of thing), but for people to actually want to engage with it, we needed a creative way to bring it to life.
While working through this, we realised that the disconnect between the data and the policies was our way in, but we needed to humanise this for people. And if there wasn’t a politician that truly represented their constituents, we needed to create one. So with that, The Perfect Candidate was born. Australia’s first political candidate driven by data, not bias.
Technically speaking, The Perfect Candidate is a data-generated virtual candidate that contrasts the people’s issues of concerns against the major political parties, and current sitting candidates, across Federal electorates. But on a deeper level, our shared vision for this campaign is to change the political conversation – to create greater transparency between the parties and the people they’re representing.
The Perfect Candidate gives visibility on the policies our candidates say they are focussed on, then compares those areas of focus with what people actually want. We want Australians to use The Perfect Candidate to hold leaders to account for the decisions they make, and the policies they are focusing on. And we want politicians to use it as a resource tool.
So how can The Perfect Candidate be of benefit to you in the final days of this gruelling election campaign? Visit the website and compare the concerns of your electorate against the concerns of the parties that are running. The Perfect Candidate will then show you how aligned (or not) they are. Or you can enter your own concerns and see how they stack up. You can use the handy links to make contact with your sitting MP, assisting you in opening a dialogue on the issues that matter to you most. Outside of interacting with the candidate, you can also see the variation of views, values and opinions between age, gender and location.
Our hope is that Australians are using this as a tool to assist them in making up their minds through our democratic process. Early indications suggest that many constituents and political journalists – Laura Tingle, Malcolm Farr, Aaron Patrick, Annika Smethurst and David Crowe – are using the tool and it has certainly garnered significant attention over the last few weeks. Cox Inall Change has overseen the earned media engagement, with The Perfect Candidate featured in 300 online news articles; more than two dozen print pieces and radio grabs, and nine TV stories, including a piece on the ABC’s 7:30.
Of course, the most important metric is still to come: will it influence the voting of the Australian public, and shift the national conversation to long term issues? We sure hope so.