TAKE A BOW, WILL
WHO WILL BE NEXT IN LINE? END OF THE HODGMAN DYNASTY STATE LIBERAL PARTY FALLOUT
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.