Michael Polley had a front-row seat to the extraordinary turn of events that unfolded on the first day of the new State Parliament – just as he did 26 years ago.
Former Hobart Lord Mayor and newest Liberal MP Sue Hickey’s shock election to the speakership harks back to 1992, when the new Liberal government’s choice of Speaker was not supported by the Parliament.
Mr Polley, who had been Speaker of the House of Assembly in the Labor-Green Accord years, masterminded a speakership coup against new Liberal Premier Ray Groom’s government.
The Liberals had nominated Michael Hodgman, Premier Will Hodgman’s late father, for the position of Speaker.
However, Mr Polley secretly did the numbers for his Lyons Liberal counterpart Graeme Page, nominating him for the speakership.
Mr Page won the secret ballot that followed, with the support of Labor and the Greens.
The parallels between what transpired in 1992 and what transpired on Tuesday are undeniable.
Minutes before Ms Hickey was nominated for the speakership, Mr Polley – who, in an ironic twist, sat in the Speaker’s Reserve - was greeted warmly by Greens leader Cassy O’Connor as she entered the chamber.
Ms O’Connor, along with Opposition Leader Rebecca White, ensured Rene Hidding’s aspirations of becoming Speaker were dashed when they nominated Ms Hickey for the role.
Mr Hodgman had sought to set the tone of the new Parliament early on Tuesday by calling a press conference to announce his government’s decision to abandon its TasWater takeover policy.
But water and sewerage was soon forgotten when the Hickey saga began to develop.
Ms White and Ms O’Connor, like Mr Polley before them, have pulled off a stunning coup which could potentially set a rocky course for the Hodgman government over the next four years.
The Opposition Leader has been careful to scotch any notion of a Labor-Green conspiracy, instead choosing to emphasise that an “all-women delegation”, including herself and Ms O’Connor, presented Ms Hickey to Governor Kate Warner to be sworn in as Speaker.
It seems Ms White would have Tasmanians believe this move was a product of the State Parliament’s majority female representation.
That’s where 1992 and 2018 differ – where 9 of the then 35 seats in the House of Assembly were occupied by women in 1992, 13 of the 25 seats are occupied by women in 2018.
If Tuesday’s events are anything to go by, we can be sure that this significantly altered Parliament is set to take us to uncharted territory.