Bombshell resignation rocks Aussie state

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced that Tasmania’s Attorney General has resigned. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Tasmanian Attorney-General and Justice Minister Elise Archer has resigned, Premier Jeremy Rockliff has said.

Speaking to reporters at a snap press conference in Launceston, Mr Rockliff said he had requested and received Ms Archer’s resignation from his cabinet.

Ms Archer will also leave parliament.

On Thursday it was revealed Ms Archer faced an independent probe over allegations of bullying behaviour.

Leaked WhatsApp messages revealed in The Australian on Friday also appeared to show Ms Archer attacking Mr Rockliff as “gutless”, as well as criticising his “glass jaw” predecessor Peter Gutwein, alongside other members of the government and her staff.

The Tasmanian Liberal government will now fall further into minority, holding only 10 of the 25 seats in the state’s House of Assembly.

Tasmania’s Attorney-General Elise Archer (right) has resigned. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Richard Jupe

Citing his government’s ministerial code of conduct, Mr Rockliff said he expected a “very high standard” from his cabinet members.

“Those remarks were unacceptable by any standard and unequivocally fall short of expectations for a minister of the Crown.”

“I said this week that culture and a changing of culture in Tasmania is absolutely paramount. If culture in this state is to change it requires leadership and accountability and I intend to demonstrate that.

“I intend to start from the top and demonstrate that accountability as Premier of Tasmania.”

Mr Rockliff said a new minister would be announced in the coming days.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Archer said it has been her “deep honour and privilege” to serve the people of Tasmania.

“Today, I have resigned as a Minister of the Crown and from the Liberal Party,” Ms Archer wrote.

“It is also my intention to notify Her Excellency of my resignation from the Parliament of Tasmania as a Member for Clark.”

“It is clear to me that the leadership of the Liberal Party continues to fail to support ambitious women.”

“It takes incredible strength and resilience to be a woman in a senior government role and to strive to be treated the same as male colleagues, despite many years of dedicated, hardworking service.”

Ms Archer’s resignation will prompt a recount in the electorate of Clark, which the Liberal Party is expected to win, meaning the party will retain its current 11 seats in the lower house.

Elected as the Member for Clark in 2010, Archer was later appointed as the first female speaker in the state’s House of Assembly.