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Tasmania to swear in female premier today

THE 38-year-old Treasurer of Tasmania, Lara Giddings, will cap a fast rise to the top when she is sworn in as premier today, replacing David Bartlett in a surprise transition.

Less than a year into a four-year term and supported by his Labor colleagues, Mr Bartlett quit the state's leadership to spend more time with his wife, Larissa, and two young children. He made the announcement on Facebook.

''I would dearly love to go on in this job,'' Mr Bartlett, 43, said yesterday. ''But I can't go on, and be the sort of father I want to be.''

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At 23 Ms Giddings was Australia's youngest elected female MP. She lost an election before returning and rising through some of the state's toughest portfolios over the past seven years to be named Treasurer only two months ago. She is unmarried and childless.

''David has explained to me his reasons for stepping down and I admire his courage and honesty in making his decision,'' Ms Giddings said. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, congratulated Ms Giddings and said she was well placed to take on the role.

Mr Bartlett made his final decision last week but contemplated it for months and particularly over the Christmas holidays.

Mr Bartlett, the father of Matilda, 5, and Hudson, 7, said he was struck by his son's journal entries. ''There were far too many entries that said: 'My daddy went to work this weekend.' ''

Mr Bartlett had only 23 per cent support as preferred premier but he plans to remain in cabinet until 2014.


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