Steven Bailey, your left testicle is safe. As you predicted in December, ex-2CC breakfast presenter Mark Parton was endorsed last night as one of the Liberals’ five candidates for the Tuggeranong seat of Brindabella.
Mr Bailey, a RiotACT regular and the Sex Party’s candidate for the same seat, bet the aforementioned portion of his anatomy in December last year that Mr Parton would run for public office again having come close to winning a seat as an independent in 2008.
“I bet my left testicle that Parton does run for public office again and I think he will win. The question isn’t if. The question is in what electorate and when?” Mr Bailey wrote in a RiotACT article.
The Sex Party candidate noted that Mr Parton came 5th in a 5-seat electorate in 2008, “but was brutally out-preferenced”. He also pointed out that Mr Parton had recently met with Liberal Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson.
“What they spoke about can only be left to the imagination,” he said.
“Mark has consistently denied that he would run in the 2016 ACT elections but has recently softened his approach when he said that his chances of running again next year were between zero and 2 per cent – the very same odds that Turnbull gave himself for taking the leadership from Abbott.
“Creating speculation and building interest before running for public office is a textbook technique for the genesis of any political campaign.”
If that last statement is right, then Mr Parton has nailed it. Speculation was rife that he would run right up until the Canberra Liberals announced their original line-up in April. It dissipated when it emerged that Mr Parton would work as a contractor advising the Canberra Liberals on social media, then began in earnest again when veteran Liberal MLA Brendan Smyth announced he would leave the Assembly next week to take up the new ACT Government role of Commissioner for International Engagement.
By joining the team now, Mr Parton receives far more publicity for his campaign personally than would have been the case had he signed up earlier in the year.
Working with the Liberals on their social media provided him with an opportunity to assess whether he would be happy if elected to work with the sitting Liberal MLAs and those candidates for the party who are in with a chance in October.
The former radio host is a strong candidate to help the Liberals fill the chasm left by Brendan Smyth given that like the man he replaces, he has a high public profile, is a popular and respected figure, and is well connected around town. While the RiotACT understands there were other candidates for the Brindabella slot and a vote was held during the Liberals’ meeting last night, let’s face it, they never had a chance.
It seems unlikely that Mr Parton will struggle to grab a seat in the Assembly given his profile, but he’s not taking anything for granted. Responding to a Facebook post that suggested he had it in the bag, he said:
“There’s a lot of work to be done … Many conversations to be had, doors to be knocked on and kilometres to be walked.”
Still, when even the competition are endorsing you, as Mr Bailey did last December (without the knowledge that Mr Parton would run for the Libs, mind you), you’d have to be feeling reasonably positive.
“Mark Parton is a fair-minded, intelligent, and utterly electable public figure,” Mr Bailey said at the time.
“Obviously, I will be voting for myself and other Australian Sex Party candidates before anyone else, but Mark Parton has my admiration and I believe that he would make an excellent independent MLA.”
Jessica Adelan-Langford, a lawyer who campaigned energetically for the seat of Canberra for the Liberals in the recent Federal election despite having no chance of success, was preselected last night for the Liberals’ other vacant slot, in Murrumbidgee.