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Paul Mercurio wins Hastings for Labor in Victorian election

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Strictly Ballroom actor Paul Mercurio has won the seat of Hastings in the Victorian election.

The race for the seat of Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula was called for Mr Mercurio and the Labor Party by ABC election expert Antony Green on Friday afternoon.

Mr Mercurio is best known for his role as Scott Hastings in the cult Baz Lurhmann classic Strictly Ballroom.

The 59-year-old told NCA NewsWire before the election that he was armed with a mission to put his experience to good use.

“I was a restaurateur, I’ve done work for plumbers, I’ve done all sorts of things. As an actor in this country, you don’t just act all the time,” he said.

“You have to do a lot of things to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. I think the good thing about that is that I have a fairly healthy lived experience.”

“I was a little bit frustrated that I couldn’t do enough on council, which is why I decided to go for state. If I could do more as a state MP, then I would be more grateful,” he said.

Labor retained power in 2018 in what was dubbed a “Danslide”. The Daniel Andrews-led party claimed a 10-seat majority with 55 of the 88 lower house electorates.

The Coalition won just 27 seats – less than half of Labor’s – while the Greens and independents each claimed three.

Mr Mercurio ran against 29-year-old former Greg Hunt staffer Briony Hutton, who was hoping to retain the semirural seat for the Liberal Party.

Mr Mercurio said he believed his tenure in the spotlight gave him an advantage when entering the political arena.

“I think at the end of the day, I’ve got a voice. And I think as an actor and as a dancer and being to some extent on the world stage, as a performer, I have a voice and I can use that,” he said.

“I guess the decision to use it for really positive outcomes is the driving thing.

“I think being famous, or notorious, or however you want to put it, people are interested in your thoughts, and from that I’ve found by engaging with people in the community or on TV or even TV shows, you can help and I would rather help people in a positive way.”

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