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Tasmania’s Premier Gutwein quits politics

Tasmania’s Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein has announced he is quitting politics, less than a year after winning the state election.

Mr Gutwein, who is also the state’s treasurer, indicated he wants to spend more time with family.

“I am announcing I’ll be resigning as premier and as member for Bass,” he said at a snap press conference on Monday afternoon.

“First and foremost I want to thank my family … for their support and love. No premier does this job alone and my family has been outstanding in their support.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve as Tasmania’s 46th premier. However, the time is now right for me to move on and to attend to other things in my life.”

Mr Gutwein, whose party was re-elected in May last year, said he will remain in the role of premier until the Liberals elect a new leader later this week.

He was elected by his party in January 2020 to replace Will Hodgman, who quit as premier mid-term.

“The past two years have delivered unforeseen challenges as we’ve navigated COVID-19,” Mr Gutwein said.

“During this time I have quite rightly focused on everyone else’s family. I now want to spend some time focusing on my own.”

Mr Gutwein was first elected to parliament in the northern electorate of Bass in 2002.

“What I’ve found after the last two years especially is I have nothing left in the tank to give,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Unless you can give 110 per cent to the role of premier, you should not be doing this job. I can no longer give 110 per cent.”

Mr Gutwein said Tasmania was in “far better shape” than when the Liberals came to power in 2014.

State parliament, which was due to sit next week, will be prorogued until after Easter, he said.

A recount will be held to determine Mr Gutwein’s replacement in Bass.

His departure comes after former education minister Sarah Courtney quit politics in early February citing a desire to spend more time with loved ones.

Upper house member Jane Howlett stepped down from ministerial duties in late February following the death of her brother.

Labor opposition leader Rebecca White thanked Mr Gutwein for his service to the state.

“Mr Gutwein has governed through some of the most difficult times as Tasmania faced the scourge of COVID-19,” she said in a statement.

“I wish him and his family well for the future.”

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