Sue Hickey

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Sue Hickey
34th Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
In office
1 May 2018 – 22 June 2021
Preceded byMark Shelton
Succeeded byMark Shelton
68th Lord Mayor of Hobart
In office
5 November 2014 – 21 March 2018
DeputyRon Christie
Preceded byDamon Thomas
Succeeded byRon Christie
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Denison
In office
3 March 2018 – 28 September 2018
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Clark
In office
28 September 2018 – 1 May 2021
Personal details
Born (1958-07-25) 25 July 1958 (age 64)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Political partyLiberal (until March 2021)
Independent (since March 2021)

Susanne Lynnette Hickey (born 25 July 1958) is an Australian politician. She represented the electorate of Denison (later re-named Clark) from the 2018 state election until her defeat at the 2021 election, sitting with the Liberal Party until March 2021, when she quit the party and became an independent.

At the time of the election Hickey had been Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly since May 2018, having unexpectedly won the Speaker position with the support of the opposition Labor and Greens parties over the Liberal government's nominee Rene Hidding.[1][2] She previously served as Lord Mayor of Hobart from 2014 until 2018.[3]

Early career[edit]

Hickey first entered public life when she won the Miss Tasmania Quest in 1979.[4] She was also a television weather girl on TVT6 for many years.[3] She later worked in a number of retail and service positions, before starting a career in marketing. In 1991, she established her own marketing business, Slick Promotions.[5] Hickey won the Tasmanian Businesswoman of the Year award in 2007.[3] Hickey obtained an MBA from the University of Tasmania in 2012 whilst running her own business, being an Alderman on the Hobart City Council and being President of the Rotary Club of Hobart.[6]

Lord Mayor of Hobart[edit]

She was a successful candidate for the Hobart City Council in the 2011 Tasmanian local government elections, elected as Alderman.

Hickey defeated incumbent Lord Mayor Damon Thomas at the 2014 local government elections, serving as the Right Honourable, The Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Sue Hickey until her election to State Parliament.[7]

State political career and Speaker of the House of Assembly[edit]

In 2018, Hickey successfully ran as a Liberal candidate for Denison (now Clark) in the Tasmanian House of Assembly.[8]

She unexpectedly won the Speaker position with the support of the opposition Labor and Greens parties over Liberal nominee Rene Hidding, and has stated that she will not attend Liberal Party meetings and will "mostly" vote with the Government, but will assess bills "on their merit".[1][2]

On 1 May 2018, at the first sitting of the House of Assembly after the election, Labor leader Rebecca White nominated Hickey as Speaker, in competition with the Liberal Party's preferred candidate, Rene Hidding. Hickey was elected Speaker with the support of Labor and the Greens.[1] After her ascension to the position, Hickey said she would attempt to "mostly" vote with the Government, but would assess bills "on their merit".[1][2] Though confirming she would vote independently on government bills, she also said she would "always support the Liberal Government" on confidence and supply.[9] During her Speakership, Hickey occasionally deprived the Liberal Party of its 13-12 majority in the Assembly. Her vote was critical in several parliamentary votes opposed by the sitting government, most notably in advancing transgender-related birth certificate reforms and blocking legislation that would have made imposed mandatory sentences for serious child sexual assaults; citing "significant concerns from the legal profession" and "unintended consequences to the detriment of the victims".[10][11]

Departure from the Liberal Party[edit]

On 22 March 2021, Hickey announced that she would quit the Liberal party and sit as an independent, slamming the state Liberals as "unable to accommodate strong women" after being told by Premier Peter Gutwein that she would not be endorsed for the next election. The Liberal government lost its majority and briefly plunged into minority government, before a snap election was called for 1 May 2021.[12][13]

Allegations against Eric Abetz[edit]

Two days after quitting the Liberal Party, Hickey accused Liberal Senator Eric Abetz in the Tasmanian Parliament of making "slut-shaming" comments on Brittany Higgins, who was allegedly raped by a male staffer in the Federal Parliament in Canberra. She alleged that Abetz told her at a citizenship ceremony in Hobart on March 1:

As for that Higgins girl, anybody so disgustingly drunk who would sleep with anybody could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of the nation at risk.[14]

Hickey also alleged that Abetz told her "not to worry" about the 1988 rape allegation against federal Attorney-General Christian Porter as "the woman is dead and the law will protect [Porter]". Abetz "categorically denied" making the comments and accused Hickey of "trying to destroy the [Liberal] party". Hickey responded in reply to Abetz accusing him of "grubby politics" and that she stood by her statement.[14]

Later on the same day, Premier Peter Gutwein wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, stating that Hickey raised the matter of Abetz's comments with him weeks earlier and requested Morrison to "consider the matters raised".[14]


  1. ^ a b c d Burgess, Georgie (1 May 2018). "New Speaker Sue Hickey distances herself from Liberal Party in dramatic first day of Parliament". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Coulter, Ellen; Dunlevie, James (4 May 2018). "Sue Hickey: A Tasmanian Liberal, but not as you know it". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Howard, Jessica (1 November 2014). "Sue Hickey's successful rise to Lord Mayor of Hobart". The Mercury (Hobart). Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Photograph - Sue Hickey, Miss Tasmania 1979". Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office. June 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  5. ^ "About Us". Slick Promotions. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  6. ^ Hickey, Sue (25 August 2014). "Sue Hickey stands for Lord Mayor of Hobart". Tasmanian Times. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Local council polls: Sue Hickey elected Hobart Lord Mayor over Damon Thomas". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Susanne Lynette (Sue) Hickey". Members of the Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  9. ^ Coulter, Ellen; Whitson, Rhiana (22 May 2018). "Speaker Sue Hickey departs from Liberal script to call for Glenorchy Council's rescue". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Will Hodgman 'disappointed' after rogue Speaker Sue Hickey votes down Tasmanian Government bill". ABC News. 1 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Sue Hickey's time as a Tasmanian Liberal MP not without controversy". ABC News. 23 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Tasmania's Speaker Hickey quits Liberals". Australian Associated Press. Yahoo News Australia. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Peter Gutwein calls Tasmanian state election for May 1". ABC News. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  14. ^ a b c "Tasmanian Premier calls on PM to 'consider' accusation Eric Abetz 'slut-shamed' Brittany Higgins". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by Lord Mayor of Hobart
Succeeded by
Ron Christie
Parliament of Tasmania
Preceded by Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
Succeeded by