It’s right time to quit as Premier, says Hodg­man

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW DENHOLM

The Tas­ma­nian Lib­eral Party is reel­ing from the shock res­ig­na­tion of Premier Will Hodg­man, but the long­stand­ing leader in­sists he has cho­sen “the right time” to go.

Mr Hodg­man, 50, un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced his de­ci­sion to quit on Tues­day, cit­ing the need for a new leader to have a clear run to the 2022 state elec­tion, as well as the im­pact on his fam­ily of 14 years as party leader.

“Our chil­dren have grown up with me in the pub­lic spot­light, and of­ten it hasn’t been easy,” the Premier said.

“There is no deny­ing that this job can have an im­pact on your per­sonal life, but we have done it to­gether and they have sup­ported me all the way.

“I have given the job ev­ery­thing. But I be­lieve it is the right time for some­one else to do it.”

It is not yet clear who will be elected Lib­eral leader and premier next week.

The Tas­ma­nian Lib­eral Party is reel­ing from the shock res­ig­na­tion of Premier Will Hodg­man, but the long­stand­ing leader in­sists he has cho­sen “the right time” to go.

Mr Hodg­man, 50, un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced his de­ci­sion to quit on Tues­day, cit­ing the need for a new leader to have a clear run to the 2022 state elec­tion, as well as the im­pact on his fam­ily of 14 years as party leader.

“Our chil­dren have grown up with me in the pub­lic spot­light, and of­ten it hasn’t been easy,” Mr Hodg­man told a press con­fer­ence con­vened at short no­tice.

“There is no deny­ing that this job can have an im­pact on your per­sonal life, but we have done it to­gether and they have sup­ported me all the way.

“I have given the job ev­ery­thing. But I be­lieve it is the right time for some­one else to do it.”

It is not yet clear who will be elected Lib­eral leader and premier when the par­lia­men­tary party meets next week.

Fron­trun­ners in­clude Deputy Premier Jeremy Rock­liff and Trea­surer Peter Gutwein, both part of what Mr Hodg­man de­scribed as a “tri­umvi­rate”, with him­self, of the most se­nior Lib­eral MPs.

How­ever, oth­ers, in­clud­ing former Speaker Elise Archer, and long-time min­is­ter and former fed­eral MP Michael Fer­gu­son, may throw their hats into the ring.

Half­way into a sec­ond term, the tim­ing pro­vides the new leader two years to build a rap­port with the elec­torate, but who­ever is cho­sen will strug­gle to em­u­late Mr Hodg­man’s pop­u­lar­ity and ap­peal.

The Premier of the past six years said he came to a “per­sonal de­ci­sion” af­ter re­flect­ing on his fu­ture with his fam­ily dur­ing and since the Christ­mas pe­riod.

The de­ci­sion was very re­cent and very dif­fi­cult, he said. “I honestly didn’t fi­nally ar­rive at it un­til the last day or so … on the week­end … talk­ing to my fam­ily,” he said.

“It’s a job I’ve loved. It’s un­de­ni­able it’s had an im­pact on my fam­ily and I want to thank them for their amaz­ing sup­port for the 17½ years I have been a mem­ber of par­lia­ment — our chil­dren’s whole lives.”

Flanked by his fam­ily — wife Nicky and chil­dren Will, James and Lily — a clearly emo­tional Mr Hodg­man said he be­lieved the de­ci­sion was best for him, the gov­ern­ment and the state.

A lawyer be­fore en­ter­ing pol­i­tics in the south­ern Tas­ma­nian seat of Franklin in 2002, he said he was not leav­ing to take up a par­tic­u­lar job and did not know what he would do next.

“I have no job to go,” he said, jok­ing that, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, he was “look­ing for­ward to be­com­ing fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent”.

Mr Hodg­man cited Tas­ma­nia’s eco­nomic turn­around, tourism boom, record pop­u­la­tion growth, re­form of high school ed­u­ca­tion and fam­ily vi­o­lence poli­cies as his proud­est achieve­ments.

He won im­me­di­ate praise from op­po­nents and al­lies. “Will Hodg­man is a Tas­ma­nian and Lib­eral leg­end, whose lead­er­ship has en­gi­neered the state’s re­mark­able turn­around,” said Scott Mor­ri­son, who the Premier called shortly be­fore an­nounc­ing his de­ci­sion.

The Prime Min­is­ter added: “As the cur­rent long­est-serv­ing premier, Will has also made a great na­tional con­tri­bu­tion … (and has been) a tremen­dous friend and sup­port to me.”

Mr Hodg­man, whose late fa­ther, Michael, was a state Lib­eral leader and Fraser gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, and whose grand­fa­ther Bill, un­cle Peter and great-great-un­cle Thomas were all MPs, sug­gested it was up to his chil­dren to de­cide if the po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty had ended.

La­bor leader Re­becca White wished him well: “I recog­nise Will’s love for Tas­ma­nia and his pas­sion for this great state and I know that has driven him.”

ZAK SIM­MONDS

Tas­ma­nian Premier Will Hodg­man ar­rives at a press con­fer­ence to an­nounce his res­ig­na­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.