“It’s just politics.”
This is the view of Sue Hickey. The woman who went from Hobart’s Lord Mayor, to successful Liberal candidate, to a parliamentary secretary, all in a couple of months, now has the title of Speaker.
Ms Hickey, along with Labor leader Rebecca White and Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, shocked State Parliament and those watching when she beat Liberal colleague Rene Hidding for the role of Speaker.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “In politics nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.”
And a cunning plan it was.
The Examiner first predicted a possible cloak-and-dagger type scenario in March when it was announced that Mr Hidding would step away from Cabinet and instead be the nomination for Speaker.
Political analyst Richard Herr told The Examiner it wasn’t a done deal. That, like back in 1992 when Labor’s Michael Polley masterminded a similar coup, anything can happen.
Mr Polley was the brains behind Liberal Graeme Page becoming Speaker over the late Michael Hodgman. Again, he was front row in parliament on Tuesday to see history repeat, when his signature political maneuver was actioned by Labor, Greens and Ms Hickey.
Following the coup, Ms White and Ms O’Connor both claimed Ms Hickey would be independent. Premier Will Hodgman claims the Speaker will remain a Liberal.
It’s hard to believe this is just day one of a parliament that the Liberal Party, throughout the election, promised would be stable.
The Speaker shock was also only a few hours after Treasurer Peter Gutwein was forced to change his TasWater takeover plan and instead sign the state government as a shareholder.
What’s next to come is unknown.
If Ms Hickey was to become an independent, as suggest by Ms White, the Liberals would have to govern in minority and face no confidence motions.
Mr Hodgman said throughout the election he would not govern in minority. Labor promised to not do a deal with the Greens.
While it’s easy for Ms Hickey to say it’s “just politics”, it is actions like this that help to disenfranchise the public when it comes to politics.
Given it’s only the first day of the 49th Parliament, it’s likely it’s just the beginning of what could be a twisted and opportunistic four years of government.