'Slit your wrists, mate': Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to Labor's Bryan Green

Less than a week after his government launched a suicide prevention strategy, the Tasmanian Premier has come under fire for telling the Opposition Leader to "slit your wrists".

Will Hodgman's comment to Labor's Bryan Green came as the Premier took his seat after giving a speech in state parliament on Tuesday. It was audible on the parliamentary video feed.

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman apologised for his comment to Opposition Leader Bryan Green.
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman apologised for his comment to Opposition Leader Bryan Green. Photo: Andrew Darby

As mental health experts joined Labor and the Greens in condemning the remark - "slit your wrists, mate" - Mr Hodgman held a press conference to say sorry for what he described as a "silly comment".

"In the heat of the moment these things occur and I apologise for it," he said.

"The usual rough and tumble of parliament often causes all members of the place to say things they perhaps shouldn't and this is one such occasion."

The Premier took to Twitter to reinforce the point:


The response on social media was heavily critical, and sometimes personal:

Mr Hodgman's Liberal government last week announced a $3 million, five-year suicide prevention plan, pledging all people who attempted to take their life would receive follow-up support within 48 hours of being discharged from hospital.

Mr Green told reporters the comment was a "terribly insensitive thing to say to anyone". He accepted the apology, and said the public could judge if it warranted further punishment.

"Whether the people of Tasmania think it is acceptable for him to be Premier after saying such a thing... is up to them," he said.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett told the ABC the comments were inappropriate and wrong, but that Mr Hodgman quickly apologised was "a sign of the decency of the man".

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said a lot of people would be disappointed, and it would remind some of the pain they had been through. "I hope that they feel somewhat reassured by the fact that he has immediately apologised and is obviously sorry about what he has said," she said.

For help or information: Lifeline 13 11 14,

with AAP

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