For most Australians, Paul Mercurio is best known for his role as boisterous Scott Hastings in the cult Baz Luhrmann classic Strictly Ballroom.
But now the stage and film star is stepping into another arena of Victorian national politics.
Now 59, he is running as the Labor candidate for the seat in Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula and is on a mission to put his experience to good use.
“I’ve been a restaurateur, I’ve worked as a plumber, I’ve done all sorts of things. As an actor in this country, I’m not always acting,” he said.
“I have a lot of work to do to pay my mortgage and make sure I have food. I think the good thing about that is that I have a pretty healthy living experience.”
Originally from Swanhill in northern Victoria, Mercurio moved to Perth as an adolescent and became a principal dancer with the Sydney Dance Company at age 19.
His high-profile breakout role came in 1992 before moving to the United States and appearing in a string of television series over a decade.
Mercurio also served as a judge on the Australian version of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until August 2008, when he was dropped for being deemed ‘too great’ for television. I was.
He was elected alderman for the Mornington Peninsula Shire in November 2020, but says the role wasn’t as influential as he had hoped.
“I was a little frustrated that I wasn’t doing enough in Congress, so I decided to go state. If there was more I could do as a state legislator, I would be more grateful,” he said.
A father of three, he says his belief that Labor will stay in power is at the heart of why voters should support his campaign.
“For Hastings voters who are undecided about who to vote for, Labor will keep the government whether they read all the political commentary or not,” he said.
“And the choice for our community is, do we want someone at the table who can actively and aggressively defend our community, or do we want someone on the opposition who can’t really do anything.”
The Labor Party remained in power in 2018, dubbed ‘Dancelide’. The party led by Daniel Andrews won a majority of his 10 seats with his 55 out of 88 House voters.
The Greens and independents won three seats each, while the coalition won just 27 seats (less than half of Labor’s).
Post-election redistribution puts Labor at a nominal 57 seats, but Andrews believes the results will be tight.
“I don’t take anything for granted. This election is almost over. All elections are over. decide whether,” he said.
“And whether we will continue to advance strong economic growth, low unemployment, but some challenges, only exacerbated by cutbacks and closures.”
Mercurio is up against Briony Hutton, a 29-year-old former Greg Hunt staffer who hopes to retain the Liberal semi-local seat.
But Mercurio believes the limelight gives him an advantage when stepping into the political arena.
“At the end of the day, I think I have a voice. Being on the world stage as an actor, a dancer, and a performer, I think I have a voice and I can use it.”
“I think the drive is the decision to use it to get really positive results. Famous or infamous, in other words, I think people are interested in what you think. So by interacting with people in the community, on TV, and even on TV shows, you can help, and I would rather, help people in a positive way.”
Victorian elections take place on November 26th.
https://thewest.com.au/entertainment/beloved-aussie-star-paul-mercurios-shock-career-move-c-8842578 Beloved Australian star Paul Mercurio’s shocking career move