Will Hodgman is used to being thrown in the deep end.
Elected as a member for Franklin in 2002, the future premier was made deputy leader of the Liberal opposition in his first 24 hours in State Parliament.
For a man who came from a political family, he may have been forgiven for thinking it was his birthright.
But Hodgman, who resigned as premier of Tasmania in January this year, didn't aspire to enter public life himself until he was well into his twenties.
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A lawyer by trade, he spent five years practicing as a barrister in Hobart after being awarded a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania.
It wasn't until he moved to the United Kingdom to work as a solicitor for Wiltshire County Council, prosecuting child abuse cases, that a desire to follow in his politician father's footsteps began to form in his mind.
"I'd visit houses where abuse was occurring and be involved in interviews with offenders and also child protection services and social workers," Hodgman says. "And it was unbelievably different to anything I'd ever seen or experienced."
"Wiltshire then had among the highest rates of child abuse in the United Kingdom. And I saw firsthand things that were shocking and distressing."
On his first day in the job, he represented the county in court - a baptism of fire if ever there was one.
"I was straight into it on day one," Hodgman says.
"When I came back [to Tasmania] I thought there might be a role I could play that similarly involved me in social services and community support and the role of government."
Born April 20, 1969, Hodgman has been around politics his whole life.
His grandfather, Bill, was an independent member of Tasmania's House of Assembly from 1955-64, and then a legislative councillor from 1971-83.
Bill's sons Michael and Peter went on to become lawmakers in their own right: the former was a long-serving federal parliamentarian before logging nearly two decades as a member of the state's lower house; while the latter enjoyed lengthy stints in both the upper and lower houses.
"I saw the true breadth and depth of the job," Hodgman says of observing his father Michael's political career. "Most people probably just think it's politicians yelling at each other on telly each night but I saw all the very positive things that my dad did and achieved, the support he gave to people, the impact he had in our community."
Upon returning home from the UK with his new partner - and soon-to-be wife - Nicky, Hodgman was encouraged to put his hand up for Liberal preselection in the lead-up to the 2002 state election.
It was a time of rancour and division in the Liberal Party, and then opposition leader Bob Cheek - extraordinarily - went on to lose his seat that year.
Rene Hidding, who replaced Cheek as opposition leader, remembers his first impression of the young Hodgman as they hit the hustings together during the campaign.
"No-one knew a lot about Will Hodgman," Hidding says. "It was the seniors of the family that were the profiled people."
"I was immediately struck by how different he was from both his father and his uncle."
The younger Hodgman's more moderate nature - matching his politics - meant he was quickly earmarked for a leadership role within the parliamentary party.
The Liberals lost three seats in the 2002 contest, where they were up against the late Jim Bacon's formidable Labor government.
But the devastating defeat allowed new blood to pulse through the ranks: namely Hodgman, Brett Whiteley, Jeremy Rockliff and now Premier Peter Gutwein.
"The extraordinary thing was there was myself, Sue Napier and Michael Hodgman, who were experienced ... and four brand new roosters who had never been in local government and had come from different walks of life," Hidding says.
"The sum total of what those four new younger people knew about Parliament and about politics you could have squeezed into a matchbox."
At the time they were elected, Hodgman was 33, Rockliff was 32, Gutwein was 37 and Whiteley was 42.
"Jeremy, Peter and I were pretty young and green, so to speak," Hodgman says. "And it's a steep learning curve."
In fact, Hidding says the Liberals used to describe the learning curve for the four new members as being "vertical".
"Prior to the first sitting of Parliament, the nights before, we were doing basically mock parliaments to give them the confidence to speak and to project their voice and that sort of thing," he says.
Rockliff, who served as Deputy Premier under Hodgman and continues to do so under Gutwein, recalls a moment where he displayed the full extent of his political naivete.
"We were role-playing the parliamentary procedure and I was getting up practicing asking a question," he says. "And then I said to Rene, 'What about when they ask us questions?' And I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when I realised all we had to do as an opposition was ask the questions in Question Time, not answer them."
The four political neophytes leaned on each other for support, and a close relationship soon formed between Hodgman, Rockliff and Gutwein, in particular - Hodgman dubbed them a "triumvirate" in his final media conference as premier.
"I think, not only in terms of relying on each other's support in the job, but also as mates, was really, really important," Hodgman says. "And we built very strong bonds."
"I miss them like hell but we'll always have that bond."
While the 2006 election didn't net the Liberals any further seats, they did experience a positive 4 per cent swing towards them and thus a sense of momentum going forward, however modest.
I miss them like hell but we'll always have that bond.Will Hodgman on his former colleagues Peter Gutwein and Jeremy Rockliff
Hidding handed over the leadership reins to his deputy, who he knew was ready to take on the role. Hodgman would become the longest-serving opposition leader in Australia, clocking eight years in the job.
"I'm quite a determined character and when I set my mind to something, I give it 100 per cent," he says.
"And I can't recall questioning my capacity or my commitment to the job, even when we lost elections and were suffering in opinion polls and needed to build some credibility in the community."
Hodgman's wife Nicky says her husband has always "remained true to who he is, his values and his respect for others".
"He never forgot why he was there and who put him there, and from the first day to the last he gave 100 per cent to the job," she says.
"I think this was the key to his success because Tasmanians could trust and relate to him, even if they disagreed with him."
The remarkable personal popularity of Hodgman eventually propelled him to the premiership in 2014, after he and his colleagues had toiled in opposition for so long. That year, he led his party to a momentous victory, which was only the second time in the state's history that the Liberals had won a majority. And he did it again in 2018.
But in his early years heading up the opposition, Hodgman and his deputy Rockliff were dogged by criticism.
"People felt as though the balance wasn't quite right because people thought we were maybe too similar," Rockliff says.
"I remember ... I wore particular criticism as the deputy but [Hodgman] was very solidly supportive of me, even in those very difficult times."
When running the state, Hodgman's own leadership style was occasionally questioned. He was labelled the 'good news premier' in some quarters, due to a perception that he would front the cameras when he had something positive to announce but shirk them when tough decisions had to be made.
Hodgman, however, rebukes any suggestion he wasn't always present.
"It's absurd to suggest that I wasn't intimately involved in what were some often very difficult decisions, very testing circumstances, times when our community was suffering," he says.
"When there's a lot of confidence and optimism about our state, I always thought it was important to amplify that and to seize the sense of hope and to realise that we could be the very best."
There was a prevailing view among the former premier's political adversaries that he was prone to indecision, reluctant to make the big calls.
Some of those people would place an asterisk next to his reign, believing that he benefited from improving national and global economic conditions, as well as initiatives set in motion by previous governments.
Lara Giddings, herself a former premier and erstwhile foe of Hodgman's, says that while Hodgman was "fortunate" to have come in to the job when he did, he still had had to confront the challenges that were part and parcel of the role.
"You still have to hold the helm, you still have to ride the waves that come towards you, regardless of good times or bad - and he did that as premier," Giddings says.
"I always got along very well with Will. He is a decent man, a kind man and, in that sense, a good man."
When Labor were resoundingly defeated in 2014, Giddings says she spoke to Hodgman about the burden in store for him.
"I said to him, 'Will, I've just offloaded a 20 kilogram backpack. You're now going to have to pick it up as premier and carry it'," she says. "And the one thing I haven't done, and I keep meaning to do, is to text him and just to say, 'How does it feel not to be carrying that 20 kilos anymore?'"
Following the 2018 election, the job of governing became more complicated for Hodgman.
Former Hobart mayor Sue Hickey, elected as a first-time Liberal member for Clark, pulled off a stunning coup on the first day of Parliament that year, with the support of Labor and the Greens.
I said to him, 'Will, I've just offloaded a 20 kilogram backpack. You're now going to have to pick it up as premier and carry it'.Lara Giddings, former premier
Hidding was the government's nomination for the role of Speaker of the House of Assembly, but the opposition parties, with the consent of Hickey, proffered the Clark MHA as an alternative candidate. And they had the numbers to get her over the line.
From that day on, Hickey was an unpredictable member of the government, having vowed to use her casting vote in accordance with her own personal convictions.
Labor made hay with the seeming instability, highlighting it at every opportunity.
But Hodgman avoids describing his last two years as premier as being unstable.
"They were difficult and challenging, and that comes with governing, particularly in a small Parliament," he says. "I was determined to deliver [on our majority], whatever anyone else might do, because that's what we were elected to do."
Among the achievements of which Hodgman is most proud are the growth in tourism he oversaw, his implementation of policies to combat family violence, the extension of additional schools to Year 12 and the state's economic rebirth.
Hodgman's time in self-isolation, necessitated by the coronavirus crisis, has allowed him to further reconnect with his family.
Nicky says she and her husband have been able to enjoy more walks on the beach with their dog Maisie, as if they were on a "second honeymoon".
"And the fact that he loves to cook while I don't has been fantastic, too - I have my own live-in Jamie Oliver cooking up a storm each night," she says.
However, in addition to his culinary creations, Hodgman now has increasing work on his plate, having just been appointed the inaugural chairman of the Australian Business Growth Fund, a $145,000 per annum job.
As for his three children, Will, James and Lily, he says there's no indication they'll seek to continue the family's political tradition by pursuing careers in public life themselves.
And so Hodgman's resignation may represent the end of a political dynasty.
But capping it off with six successful years as premier wouldn't be the worst way to call time.
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