Tasmanian Attorney-General dismisses claim she called Speaker Hickey a ‘treacherous bitch’
Tasmania’s Attorney-General has denied calling Sue Hickey a “treacherous” or “traitorous” “bitch” after the speakership coup, but admits emotions were running high.
Sue Hickey sent the Hodgman Government into turmoil after she snatched the speakership from the Premier’s pick Rene Hidding on the first day of parliament.
A number of sources and a witness at parliament on the day told the ABC that Elise Archer called the new Speaker a “traitorous” or “treacherous” “bitch” after Ms Hickey defied the party.
There have been tensions between Ms Archer and Sue Hickey in the past — in 2009 the pair had a public spat at the Taste of Tasmania festival.
Ms Archer was asked if she called her fellow Denison MP Ms Hickey a “treacherous bitch”.
“I didn’t call anyone that terminology, I think that has been distorted,” she said.
“I am not going to provide a running commentary, but that is a misquote.”
When asked what she did say to Ms Hickey, Ms Archer said: “I think emotions were high for a lot of people, but I certainly wouldn’t use that language.”
She was then asked whether she used words to that effect.
“Look, a number of people probably out of shock would’ve made similar comments, but I am not going to provide a running commentary.”
Ms Archer later said she did not call Ms Hickey a “traitorous bitch” either.
She said Ms Hickey was very much a part of the Government and she would work with her constructively.
“I will particularly work constructively in my law and order agenda, as I hope to get that through our House as well as the Legislative Council,” she said.
Sue Hickey declined to comment.
‘Serious doubts about Government unity’
Labor spokeswoman Sarah Lovell said she had “serious doubts about the strength of the Liberal team”.
“The very fact that one of their own members chose to vote with other parties rather than stick with their own party would signify that there absolutely is some tension within that team,” she said.
Ms Archer’s husband Dale Archer, a former Tasmanian Liberal Party president, recently “liked” a social media post that accused Ms Hickey of lying and double-crossing the party.
Premier Will Hodgman’s wife Nicky Hodgman also “liked” the post.