Those of you who are dedicated readers of Mornington Peninsula Magazine and love to follow the news of who’s who in the region will already recognise television presenter Paul Mercurio. For those of you who don’t, here’s a snapshot of the 57-year-old Peninsula resident who, with a lifetime of performance and foodie success behind him, has announced his intention to stand for Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in October.
A weird diversion? Maybe not.
Paul is an actor, dancer and a dedicated gourmand who likes to write cookery books and cook with beer. He is also keen to listen to residents and have their ideas heard, and he’s made it clear that he is “not moving away from cooking or any of my other pursuits”.
“My main goal is to really understand what people want and to make a difference,” he says. “It’s not really a political decision. I just believe that to make change you’ve got to put your hand up. You are voted in by the ratepayers and it’s the ratepayers that need to be listened to. It’s all about what they need, what they request.”
It may seem a long way from Swan Hill, where Paul was born, and a celluloid canyon away from his principal dancer days with the Sydney Dance Company, but this former ballet boy and Baz Luhrmann leading man is still light on his feet and eager to soar on the local government stage. Both the arts and political arenas require grunt, and Paul has got determination and creative capabilities in spades. Throw in a desire for real community conversation and you never know.
Check out our September edition for more on how he is going to make change happen.