Published: 17 October 2016

ABC News Friday 14 October

Independent MP Ruth Forrest is disappointed Premier Will Hodgman does not want to hear her side of an alleged bullying incident and says he should show better leadership.

Police Minister Rene Hidding has repeatedly denied bullying the Upper House MP at a social function last month.

He plans to take legal action against Ms Forrest for defamation.

Ms Forrest said she was keen to move towards reconciliation with Mr Hidding, but believed the Premier had not taken her seriously.

She said she was disappointed the Premier did not get her side of the story.

"I'm disappointed the Premier didn't take my request as [seriously] as I'd like him to," she said.

"I really thought the Premier should've contacted me, because he's the leader, he should lead by example, and I think it would've been really helpful if he had have done that."

Mr Hodgman has again defended his handling of the dispute.

But he has continued to distance himself from the conflict, and said it was not his role to investigate the matter further.

He has cleared Mr Hidding of breaching the ministerial code of conduct.

"The job I had was to determine whether or not there was a breach of the code of conduct," he said.

"It's not my job to determine what did or didn't happen."

Premier setting bad precedent: Opposition


How did it come to this?

Both Ruth Forrest and Rene Hidding have consulted lawyers in their dispute over what happened in September.

The Opposition continued its attack against the Premier's handling of the dispute, saying he was setting a bad precedent on bullying complaints.

In Parliament, Opposition Leader Bryan Green read from a copy of former Liberal leader Bob Cheek's memoirs.

"Mr Hidding was arrogant, and he treated his staff the same way, one staff member was so incensed by Mr Hidding's behaviour at a drinks function, she wanted something done about it," he said.

Mr Hidding told Parliament the Opposition had nothing else to talk about.

"We've dug down in one of the most stupid books every written in Tasmania, by one of the dumbest political operators in the state's history," Mr Hidding said.


The Minister for Women, Jacqui Petrusma, rose to his defence when asked if he had her support.

She told Parliament she witnessed the argument in question.

"I did not hear any raised voices or saw any aggressive hand movements or anything else that indicated anything more than a robust and frank conversation," she said.


Labor's Michelle O'Bryne said the Premier should take responsibility.

"I worry about what it means in workplaces," she said.

"People are going to be too scared now to raise complaints or will they believe there is no point because the moment someone says 'no, no it didn't happen' that's the end of the matter."

"He is the Premier of this state, he is the only person who is responsible for the ministerial code of conduct, and for him to say without even speaking to Ms Forrest he knows the outcome, he knows what took place, he knows what actions he should take ... well that's just weak."




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