MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire councillor Paul Mercurio is hoping his next move on the political front will be to state parliament as the new MP for Hastings.
Perhaps more widely known for his dance moves while playing the lead role of what he hopes will be the prophetically named Scott Hastings in director Baz Lurhmann’s 1992 movie Strictly ballroom, Mercurio has been signed up as a candidate by the Labor Party.
Now, 30 years after the release of Strictly Ballroom, Mercurio has teamed up with Nepean Labor MP Chris Brayne for a special showing of the movie to promote their respective election campaigns.
Mercurio has taken leave from his council duties to contest the election, while Brayne is seeking another term since winning Nepean from the Liberals in 2018.
The $100 a car screening of Strictly Ballroom at Dromana Drive In on Sunday 14 August will feature a question and answer session with Mercurio hosted by Brayne.
Mercurio describes Strictly Ballroom – made with a $3.3 million budget and reaped $80 million worldwide at the box office – as “a great movie”.
Drive in owner Paul Whitaker sees the 30th anniversary screening as “a great event”.
Held for the Liberals by Neale Burgess since 2006, Hastings is now regarded as “marginally Labor” after last year’s redistribution of electoral boundaries (“Labor wins with boundary changes” The News 7/7/21).
Burgess, currently the subject of a misconduct investigation by the Department of Parliamentary Services, announced in November that he would not seek re-election at this year’s poll (“MP ‘banned’ from duties” The News 19/7/22).
Dana Hawtin, of Burgess’s office, said he would not be commenting on the allegations of misconduct but that “first and foremost, the constituents of the Hastings electorate remain the utmost priority of the member and his office”.
“The office has previously been open and will remain to do so for any constituent who may need assistance.”
After Burgess’s retirement announcement he Liberal party chose former Committee for Mornington Peninsula executive officer Briony Hutton as its candidate for Hastings.
In Nepean, held by Brayne since the 2018 election with a 1.82 per cent two party preferred margin, the Liberals have preselected former professional tennis player Sam Groth. Since retiring from tennis Groth has worked in various roles in the media.
Brayne’s surprise win against Liberal Russell Joseph, saw Nepean become the sole Labor electorate on the peninsula.
Labor has yet to announce a candidate for Mornington, which is being contested for the Liberals by former federal MP, Chris Crewther who was preselected over sitting Liberal David Morris, who has held the seat since 2006.
Bookings for the Labor fundraiser showing of Strictly Ballroom at Dromana Drive-In on 14 August can be made at: trybooking.com/events/landing/931372