The Bullet Train for Australia is doing away with its celebrity free policy and offering Andrew O’Keefe a plum role in the party.
The party is extending O’Keefe an offer to become the official Bullet Train for Australia national spokesperson in the lead up to the federal vote, following the Weekend Sunrise host’s recent on air support for the party.
Party president Tim Böhm said O'Keefe had commented on the Bullet Train as part of his Weekend Sunrise program, where he gave the party both a physical and vocal "thumbs up".
The offer comes less than a month after the party vowed to avoid "career politicians, B-grade celebrities or washed-up sports people".
Mr Böhm said the party wouldn’t usually run celebrity candidates, but O’Keefe was something special. He said if O’Keefe could make a better Prime Minister than “Kevin, Tony, Clive, Bob or anyone running around out there”, if he took up the party’s additional offer of running as a House of Representatives candidate.
“It’s gotten a lot of support from our members,” he said.
“We’ve tried to contact Andrew, but no response… We’d love to have him on board and up front helping to steer the Bullet Train campaign to the ballot box.”
Fairfax Media received a comment from O'Keefe late on Friday, wishing the party well but denying involvement.
"Whilst I fully support the notion of a high-speed rail network linking Australia's major cities, from both the transportational and environmental points of view, I am not a spokesperson or candidate for the Bullet Train Party, and I’m not in discussion with them about it either. I'll certainly will be watching their progress with interest, however, and wishing them every success," he said.
The party will be running Senate candidates in the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria, as well as House of Representative candidates in electorates along the route of the Stage 1 plan from Newcastle to Melbourne.
The campaign for federal seats follows a tilt by the Bullet Train for Canberra party at the ACT Legislative Assembly elections in 2012, where it gained almost 9000 votes,
Mr Böhm said the local campaign had boosted its membership throughout the seats of Canberra and Fraser.
“Because we ran the October election [for the ACT Legislative Assembly], we haven’t had any trouble finding candidates,” he said.
“We’ve got members who want to run for the House of Representatives, in both seats.”
He said candidates would be announced shortly after the nomination of an election date by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.