Tasmania’s Parliament was thrown into chaos on the first sitting day since the March 3 election with new Liberal MHA Sue Hickey snatching the prestigious speakership from Premier Will Hodgman’s preferred candidate, Rene Hidding.
The unexpected move blindsided the Government, with Ms Hickey’s decision to act as an independent Speaker leaving some questioning the Government’s majority status.
Ms Hickey has stated she will “mostly” vote with the Government, providing a guarantee of supply and confidence, however she went on to be quoted as saying she will not be attending party room meetings and will vote independently depending on the merits of legislation put forward.
With the Liberals only holding a one seat majority in the Lower House, this puts the new Speaker in a position to have the deciding say on any legislation if Labor and the Greens take the same side.
Ms Hickey has said she understands the seriousness of her unexpected position and is quoted as saying she is not going to abuse her power.
Premier Hodgman has maintained that despite the unexpected development, the Liberal party will still govern in majority.
“We have 13 members. Yes, an independent Speaker but Sue Hickey is a member of the Liberal Party. We have 13 members – that’s a majority,” Mr Hodgman said.
“I am going to be focused on doing what we promised, delivering on our commitments.”