The Australian state of Tasmania is made up of more than 1,000 islands. However, its main island does tend to stand apart from the others, both in size and population.

Until recently, Peter Gutwein held the premier position of Tasmania, the state's top political office. Taking the job when he also became the leader of the Tasmanian division of the Liberal Party of Australia. This is contradictory as it might seem and is actually the country's main conservative political party. But, after a sudden turn of events, both Tasmania and its Liberal Party members find themselves under new leadership.

Gutwein announces sudden resignation

Peter Gutwein has stepped down as premier of Tasmania and as leader of the Tasmanian Liberals. The news was unexpected to many and has been described as a "shock resignation" in multiple outlets.

The Sydney Morning Herald indicates that the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on Gutwein. For his part, he has stated that he's "completely drained" and has "nothing left in the tank to give."

Gutwein also elaborated on his decision in more detail: "Unless you can give 110 percent to the role of premier, you should not be doing this job. I can no longer give 110 percent."

Regarded as a moderate member of his party, Gutwein is a native of the United Kingdom.

However, he emigrated to Australia with his family, settling in Nunamara in the north of Tasmania's main island. He would graduate from Deakin University in Melbourne, Victoria, and go into the financial sector. In addition, Gutwein was a competitive Australian rule football player.

In 2020, he became premier and party leader after the resignation of Will Hodgman.

Gutwein has also been serving as treasurer of Tasmania since 2014.

Deputy premier Jeremy Rockliff ascends to new roles

Tasmanian deputy premier Jeremy Rockliff has been selected to succeed Gutwein as premier and Tasmanian Liberal Party leader. Rockliff has held the office of deputy premier since 2014. He's also held a variety of other Cabinet responsibilities.

One of Rockliff's main areas of focus is perhaps fitting, given his predecessor's background. According to, gaining Tasmania an Australian Football League team is a top priority of his. Rockliff credited Gutwein's role in "getting us as close as we've ever been to securing an AFL team." Adding, "I am determined to finish what he started, so Tasmania has its own team once and for all." The AFL has never had a team based in Tasmania in its history.

Rockliff was raised in Sassafras, Tasmania. He was educated in his home state at Latrobe High School and Launceston Church Grammar School. Later, he studied farming in New Zealand at Lincoln University.

Michael Ferguson was chosen to follow Jeremy Rockliff as deputy premier. In 2020, Ferguson sought the Tasmanian Liberal Party leadership. A race that ultimately went in favor of Peter Gutwein.