The resignation of Tasmanian Premier and Member for Franklin, the Honourable Will Hodgman MP, came as a surprise to many across the state including Kingborough residents who reside in his electorate.
Making the announcement on Tuesday, January 14, Mr Hodgman has been involved in Tasmanian politics for 17 years, elected as a Member for Franklin in 2002 and serving as the leader of the Liberal Party for 14 years.
In a comment to the ‘Kingborough Chronicle’ Mr Hodgman said that he has appreciate the support he has received over the years.
“It’s great to see the progress that has been made over that time as this region grows.
“I am proud my government has played its role supporting business growth, major infrastructure projects and important investments in community, sport and recreational facilities.
“The new $6.5 million Kingston Health Centre is providing vital care closer to home for thousands of people, and importantly, taking pressure off the RHH.
“I cherish our strong sense of community spirit, particularly at difficult times such as last year’s devastating bushfires, when we rallied to support those impacted.”
In his announcement on Tuesday, Mr Hodgman described the decision to stand down as Premier of Tasmania as difficult.
“I have given the job, which is an enormous privilege and one I have loved, absolutely everything,” said Mr Hodgman, who has held the state’s top job for six years.
“But I believe it is the right time for someone else to do it.
“It is undeniable that it has an impact on my family, and I thank them for their amazing support for the 17 and a half years I have been a Member of Parliament, our children’s whole lives.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and embraced all the challenges that come with this job.”
Mr Hodgman stated that he consulted with those close to him and his family before deciding that the time was right to make the transition.
“As we approach the halfway mark, with two more years of this term of government, I believe it is the right time for me to allow for new leadership,” Mr Hodgman said.
“I have no doubt the team that I’ve had the privilege to lead, not only has the clear plan to keep our state moving forward in a positive direction, but to tackle the challenges that we have always acknowledged and readily accepted responsibility for and to seize the many exciting opportunities ahead.”
When speaking of his time in office, Mr Hodgman affirmed that the economy is stronger, businesses more confident and unemployment lower than when his party come into government.
Mr Hodgman also stated that he was proud of the government’s efforts with regards to budget surpluses, education results, more support for students with disabilities, early education access, increased health staff, access to social and affordable housing, rail and roads, low-cost energy and climate action.
As the Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, Mr Hodgman also commented on the boost to branding, food production, international tourist numbers and exports.
“We’ve significantly increased the budget for marketing; invested in some of the world’s best events, festivals, eco-tourism attractions and at key destinations,” the Premier continued.
“Our brand has never been stronger.
“But we should never forget, nor take for granted, that our state is the greatest place in the world and our best days ahead of us.
“My only wish is for the continued success of this state that I love so much.”
Mr Hodgman has also been the first Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.
“It was under my Government we have invested an additional $52 million into our Family Violence Action Plan, with more resources, better coordination support services and more early intervention and prevention strategies,” said Mr Hodgman.
“We’ve led the country in our efforts to eliminate family and sexual violence.”
After discussing the actions of the State Government over the last six years, Mr Hodgman thanked his colleagues for their support and their commitment to the state as well as the many members of staff who supported his office over the last 14 years including his former and current Chiefs of Staff, Brad Stanfield and Tim Baker.
Toward the conclusion of his speech, Mr Hodgman spoke about his family, wife Nicky, children Will, James and Lily and sisters Ange and Tori, calling them his greatest support.
“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 leave the job with Tasmania now a much better place than when we started,” declared Mr Hodgman.
“We have turned Tasmania around.”
On Thursday, January 16, Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson both announced their intention to vie for leadership of the State Government.
It will be the first contested leadership ballot in nearly two decades for the Liberal Party.
Despite the contest, Mr Hodgman has stated he is confident that unity will continue within the party.
"I don't think it hurts for there to be some competition and a contest for what's a really important job,” said Mr Hodgman.
"There's a passion, a commitment and a drive right across our government but particularly for those taking on leadership positions which should be relished."
Mr Gutwein named Jeremy Rockliff as his proposed deputy and Mr Ferguson nominated Elise Archer.
On Friday, Mr Hodgman announced that he would be abstaining from Monday’s vote.
"I think it would be inappropriate for somebody who is not going to be a member of the new team moving forward to make decisions about who the next leader will be," Mr Hodgman stated, indicating it was up to rest of the party to reach a consensus.
"It's important that political parties can manage themselves well so they can focus on the people that really matter, the Tasmanian people."
The vote took place at 12 noon on Monday, January 20 with Mr Hodgman officially informing Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, Governor of Tasmania after the result was announced.