Tasmania, the only Australian jurisdiction governed by the Liberal Party, could face an early election following the resignation of its Attorney-General.
Elise Archer stood down from the role on Friday amidst accusations of inappropriate conduct.
What she does next will have a major impact on the current minority Government.
Tasmania’s Premier Jeremy Rockliff asked Attorney-General Elise Archer to resign from Cabinet following bullying allegations against her.
The Premier described text messages from Archer, some of which were leaked by The Australian newspaper, as “unacceptable”. However, Archer said at least one of the messages was out of context.
Archer became a Liberal MP in 2010. She became Attorney-General in 2018.
After resigning last week, Archer said in a statement: “It is clear to me that the leadership of the Liberal Party continues to fail to support ambitious women.”
With Archer, the Tasmanian Liberals hold 11 of the 25 seats in the State’s Lower House of Parliament. This means they’re in a minority Government.
Archer initially announced plans to quit Parliament entirely, but said she’s now reconsidering — meaning she will either serve as a Liberal backbencher or become an independent.
Rockliff said an early election could be called in Tasmania if Archer quits the Liberal Party and doesn’t guarantee the government her support as an independent.
Tasmania’s next election is set for 2025. The state’s Parliament will expand its Lower House from 25 to 35 seats.
An election would come amid an uneasy period for the State Government, which lost its majority in May when two Liberal MPs resigned over a planned AFL stadium build in Hobart.
The Tasmanian Liberals have held Government since 2014.
An independent investigation into Archer’s alleged misconduct has been opened.
Archer welcomed the investigation, and said she has always worked to support a healthy workplace.