Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman is resigning after almost two decades in politics, saying he believes it is the “right time… to allow for new leadership”.
In a surprise media conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Hodgman said being Premier was an honour and privilege.
“It is undeniable that it had an impact on my family and I want to thank them for their amazing support for the 17 and a half years that I have been a member of parliament,” he said.
He said he told Cabinet of his decision on Tuesday morning.
“As we approach the halfway mark with two more years of this term of government, I believe that now is the right time for me to allow for new leadership,” he said.
“I have no doubt that the team I have had the privilege to lead not only has a clear plan to keep our state moving forward in a positive direction, but also to tackle the challenges that we have always acknowledged and this term of government.”
Mr Hodgman said was not sure what the next phase of his life would entail and jokingly referred to the Sussexes’ desire to step back from royal duties, saying he was looking forward to be being “financially independent”.
“I don’t know — I have no job to go to,” he said.
Mr Hodgman became the Premier of Tasmania in 2014, leading the Liberal Party to victory over a 16-year incumbent Labor government led by Lara Giddings.
He secured the largest majority for any Government since the 25 member Parliament was established in 1998.
He won his second term in the 2018 state election and has been under sustained criticism over the state’s heath and housing issues.
Mr Hodgman, 50, is Tasmania’s 45th Premier.
He and his wife Nicky have three children — William, James and Lily.
The frontrunners to replace Mr Hodgman are Deputy Premier and Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff and Treasurer Peter Gutwein.
Mr Hodgman, whose father, grandfather and uncle served in politics, said he made the final decision to step down in the past few days.
He had told media as recently as December that he had no plans to quit.
More to come.