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Tasmania’s Stories

Tasmanians return the Hodgman Liberal Government and a historic female majority parliament

Edition 192_Hodgman

Tasmanians voted for continuity in the 3 March State election, returning Will Hodgman for a second term as Premier. In doing so they created history by being the first Australian state to return a female majority parliament. Thirteen women and twelve men have been elected to the House of Assembly.

Mr Hodgman became only the second Liberal Party leader in Tasmanian history (after Robin Gray) to win a second term as Premier.

In his victory speech in the Hobart tally room, he said: "Four years ago [Tasmanians] voted for change; tonight they have voted for no change.

"[They voted] to stick to the direction this State is heading in and take our State to the next level."

The victory came on the same day as the passing of former Attorney-General, Vanessa Goodwin, after her battle with brain cancer.

Ms Goodwin was well-liked across the political spectrum and was a good friend of Mr Hodgman as well as a parliamentary colleague.

In his victory speech, Mr Hodgman acknowledged Ms Goodwin's contribution to making his Government "as good as it could be".

The Liberal team will have a reduced majority in the Lower House with 13 seats (15 previously).

The Australian Labor Party, led by Rebecca White, won 10 seats after achieving a 5.5 per cent swing in primary votes.

The Tasmanian Greens won two seats, in the 25-seat House of Assembly.

Mr Hodgman, 48, is the son of an Australian Government minister, Michael Hodgman, and the grandson of a respected State politician, Bill Hodgman.

He graduated from the University of Tasmania with degrees in Arts and Law in 1993 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 1994.

In 1995, Mr Hodgman worked in Britain prosecuting cases of child abuse and neglect.

He was elected a Liberal member for Franklin in 2002 and was subsequently appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Hodgman became Leader of the Liberal Party and of the State Opposition in 2006.

He was sworn in as Tasmania's 45th Premier in 2014.

He did well enough in the ensuing four years to be returned as Premier, but his success was not accepted graciously.

Ms White initially forgot to congratulate Mr Hodgman in her concession speech, but accused the Liberals of buying seats with an expensive campaign targeting Labor's anti-poker machine policy.

Similarly, the Tasmanian Greens' leader, Cassy O'Connor, said: "We were significantly outspent by the Labor Party and massively outspent by the Liberals."

The Opposition parties — and the media — had maintained a strong focus on the poker machine issue in the final weeks of the campaign, despite polling that indicated that fewer than a third of Tasmanians considered it relevant to their voting intentions.

The Labor policy certainly drew strong financial backing for the Liberal campaign from the hospitality sector.

Mr Hodgman attracted a massive personal vote in Franklin, reaching more than two quotas.

He will be joined in the new Parliament by a re-elected Jacquie Petrusma, who has done her time in the difficult portfolio of Human Services.

The Liberals lost one of the four seats they had held in Braddon, but they retained three seats in Bass.

Ms White polled strongly enough in the rural seat of Lyons to secure two Labor seats.

In the Hobart seat of Denison, the status quo was maintained with two Liberals, two Labor and one Green elected.

High-profile Hobart Lord Mayor, Sue Hickey, will replace former minister Matthew Groom on the Liberal benches.

Respected economic commentator Saul Eslake said on poll eve: “Given [the Liberals] have presided over a significant improvement in Tasmania’s economic performance, and while there’s an element of luck in that, they’re also entitled to claim some of the credit for it.

“Their campaign appears to have been both better-funded and better-organised ... support appears to reflect a perception among voters of them as better economic managers, which is sort of what you’d expect.

"But, also, that they were better-placed to deal with Health and Education, which is not necessarily what an objective observer might have expected.”

Mr Eslake said the second-term Liberals must find ways of continuing to improve Tasmania’s employment situation.

“Despite this improved economic performance, Tasmania remains the poorest State in the nation by a margin which hasn’t changed much over the past four years and isn’t forecast to change over the next four,” he said.

“The underlying reality is that Tasmania’s economy has to improve significantly to counter the effect of powerful ... demographic forces that have been detracting from the key drivers of per capita economic growth.

“These forces will intensify over the next three decades.

“The single most important thing that the next Tasmanian Government can do to improve long-term economic prospects is to improve the educational participation and attainment of Tasmania’s population. [However], other bold and wide-ranging, reforms will also be required.”

Image courtesy of the ABC

8 March 2018, Edition 192

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

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