TAKE A BOW, WILL

WHO WILL BE NEXT IN LINE? END OF THE HODG­MAN DY­NASTY STATE LIB­ERAL PARTY FALL­OUT

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID KIL­LICK ANAL­Y­SIS

WILL Hodg­man, the 45th Premier of Tas­ma­nia, has an­nounced his in­ten­tion to re­sign.

He in­formed his Cabi­net col­leagues of his de­ci­sion to step down yes­ter­day morn­ing be­fore hold­ing an emo­tional press con­fer­ence sur­rounded by his fam­ily.

“I leave this job with Tas­ma­nia in a bet­ter place than when we started,” Mr Hodg­man said.

“It doesn’t just hap­pen by luck. I’m ex­tremely proud to be part of the gov­ern­ment that has cre­ated the turn­around state.”

Mr Hodg­man said he had taken time to re­flect over the Christ­mas pe­riod on the po­si­tion and that early this week he de­cided to re­sign.

“I’ve given this job ev­ery­thing, but I do be­lieve it’s the right time for some­one else to do it,” he said.

“At this half­way point in the term of gov­ern­ment, I think there’s a great op­por­tu­nity for new lead­er­ship.

“This state al­lows us the great­est place in the world to live and our best days are ahead of us.”

Mr Hodg­man said his Gov­ern­ment’s re­form of ed­u­ca­tion was one of his proud­est achieve­ments, in­clud­ing im­proved re­ten­tion rates.

THE race to re­place Will Hodg­man as Tas­ma­nia’s Premier is ex­pected to be a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween three of his min­is­ters – all from the North of the state.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rock­liff, 49, is an ob­vi­ous choice as one of the can­di­dates.

A pop­u­lar mod­er­ate and mem­ber for Brad­don, his com­pe­tence in the ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio and pub­lic pro­file sug­gest he would be ca­pa­ble of per­form- ing ad­mirably in the state’s high­est po­lit­i­cal of­fice.

Mr Rock­liff was the only one of Mr Hodg­man’s min­is­ters to at­tend the snap press con­fer­ence called af­ter the de­ci­sion was re­vealed in a Cabi­net meet­ing in Ho­bart.

He left be­fore jour­nal­ists were able to ask him whether he was in­tend­ing to throw his hat into the ring.

Trea­surer Peter Gutwein, 55, is con­sid­ered to be the fron­trun­ner among the other can­di­dates.

A proven par­lia­men­tary per­former and long­stand­ing MP for Bass, Mr Gutwein has presided over a pe­riod of eco­nomic good for­tune for the state — one of the most-trum­peted achieve­ments of the Lib­er­als’ term-and-a-half in of­fice.

With Mr Rock­liff, he forms the sec­ond leg of the trio Mr Hodg­man cred­its with his party’s suc­cess.

The third can­di­date tipped by pun­dits is former health min­is­ter Michael Fer­gu­son. Although the 45year-old still bears some metaphor­i­cal scars from his long stint in the state’s most dif­fi­cult port­fo­lio, Mr Fer­gu­son is the youngest and most con­ser­va­tive of those likely can­di­dates. Am­bi­tious and well spo­ken, he also boasts ex­pe­ri­ence at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment — hav­ing served on the Me­an­der Val­ley Coun­cil and as the fed­eral mem­ber for Bass.

Mr Hodg­man has not en­dorsed a suc­ces­sor, so the de­ci­sion will be one for the Lib­eral Party to de­cide.

Who­ever it is will have a task ahead of them fill­ing the shoes of a man who has led a some­times frac­tious party for the bet­ter part of the last two decades.

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