Premier under pressure

TASMANIAN POLITICS:

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein is facing upheaval in both his political and personal lives  after failing to secure a convincing return to office for his Liberal Party government at the early election he called for last Saturday.

After so far securing only 12 of the 13 seats in the Tasmanian Parliament needed to avoid minority government, Mr Gutwein has taken to spending most of his days since the election in the company of a previously unidentified woman. (main picture)

But a senior Liberal Party figure – speaking exclusively to The Bug on the condition of anonymity – named the woman as a behind-the-scene political operator, Marge Orrity.

“It’s pretty much an open secret that Peter has been chasing the attentions of this woman ever since he took over from former premier Will Hodgman in January 2020,” the party source said.

“Their relationship including intimate dinners and covert meetings has certainly placed pressure on his personal life, after all he is married with two kids and made a big play during the campaign of being an average ‘family man’.

“How long his Liberal Party colleagues will tolerate this liaison is not known, but they’d expect him to make a choice between his current partner and the ‘other woman’ very soon.

“Sadly the decision may be made for him if Marge rejects his overtures.”

The Liberal Party source said Mr Gutwien’s behaviour could be explained by Saturday’s lacklustre election result.

“The result disappointed us all, but Peter has obviously taken it pretty hard and is acting out his frustrations in his own way,” the source said.

“Peter and everyone associated with the Liberal Party campaign knew the risks when he rolled the dice on an early poll.

“We all agreed that the one thing that could guarantee a decisive majority for us was if the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian attacked Peter for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

“It worked for premiers in Queensland and WA, but unfortunately Scott and Gladys wouldn’t play ball.

“So in a way they are to blame for the position Peter and his family find themselves in at the moment,” the source said.