ACT News

Mark Parton joins Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson's staff to beef up his social media presence

Former breakfast radio host Mark Parton has joined the staff of ACT Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson as a media adviser.

Mr Parton's brief is to extend the Liberals' reach into social media, with YouTube videos and a bigger presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Former radio host Mark Parton is joining the staff of Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson.
Former radio host Mark Parton is joining the staff of Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson.  Photo: Supplied

He joins Joe Prevedello, also a former radio journalist, who has been the sole media spokesman for the Liberal team.

Mr Parton, who resigned from 2CC in December after 16 years on Canberra radio to focus on his marketing consultancy, Parton Me, stood unsuccessfully as an independent candidate at the 2008 election. He has ruled out standing at this year's election.

His part-time contract with the Liberals runs initially till the end of June. Mr Hanson said it was "a bit of a coup" to have Mr Parton on  staff to work on "getting my message out".

"The message doesn't change in terms of what we are putting out but the format does," Mr Hanson said.

Labor leader Andrew Barr embraces social media enthusiastically and uses it more frequently than Mr Hanson. 

His Facebook account has about 7500 subscribers compared with Mr Hanson's 2500. He has sent more than 12,000 tweets, compared with Mr Hanson's 1600, and he operates an active web page.

Mr Barr's staff record his press conferences and packages them into videos for his social media accounts. He pays for Facebook content to be pushed out to more viewers and follows a strategy of downplaying traditional media and all-in press conferences.

Mr Parton continues as a fill-in host on 2CC and defended his ability to broadcast occasionally on radio while working for the Liberals. He was "a gun for hire" and would happily work for other politicians, he said, although if he was asked to interview Mr Hanson on air now would "probably say I don't know that it's a good idea".  

He has been employed as a staffer rather than a campaign worker or strategist, with the two roles carefully separated in Canberra.

Mr Hanson said his aim for the election campaign – with a campaign director yet to be appointed – was to be a "big target", with clear policies and plans, not to hope to win on the unpopularity or longevity of the government.