Senior MP for Tas backs Rockliff as Prime Minister | Liverpool City Champion

Tasmanian Deputy Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff is all but guaranteed to rise to the state’s top job unchallenged as a battle looms to be his second-in-command.

Liberal MPs in the state will hold a meeting in the village hall on Friday to decide Tasmania’s next leader, following Prime Minister Peter Gutwein’s shock announcement earlier this week that he is quitting politics.

Mr Rockliff, who has been an MP since the Liberals came to power in 2014, has publicly indicated he wants to become the state’s 47th premier and is “optimistic” about his chances.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson was seen as most likely to challenge Mr Rockliff for the leadership role.

Mr. Ferguson, one of the more conservative voices of the liberals in the state, said on Thursday he would nominate to back Mr. Rockliff for deputy premier.

“It’s time for Jeremy to lead the party,” he said in a statement.

“The Government…has taken Tasmania’s economy and employment performance from national backwardness to national leadership.

“Jeremy and I have carefully laid out our plans this week, focusing on the day to day needs of Tasmanians.

“We have a plan for the continued success of government based on the very strong foundations we have laid since 2014.”

Attorney General Elise Archer confirmed on Wednesday that she would throw her hat in the ring to be an MP, setting up a two-way race with Mr Ferguson.

“My friend and colleague Elise Archer deserves great credit for her work as a reform-minded attorney general and I welcome her appointment,” Mr. Ferguson said.

Mr Gutwein was elected prime minister unopposed by fellow Liberals in January 2020 after Will Hodgman left office mid-term.

Mr Gutwein, who entered politics in 2002, cited a grueling pandemic workload and a desire to spend more time with his family as reasons for quitting.

Australian Associated Press

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