Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke dies aged 89


On the eve of voting we have a special bulletin on the election. But first, news about one of Australia’s greatest politicians. Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister and Labor Party legend, has died at the age of 89.

Georgie Hewson reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Bob Hawke was known as one of Labor’s most charismatic leaders.

A man of the people, who loved a beer.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “This is the certificate my mother got me to sign at the ripe old age of nine, Trusting in God’s help, I solemnly swear to abstain from any food or drink containing alcohol.”

He started as a working man in the trade union movement and that was to become a lifelong love.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “In the ACTU I learnt about the Australian economy.”

He was born in South Australia and eventually became a Rhodes Scholar studying in the UK.

In 1969 Hawke became President of the ACTU, and began developing his political wiles.

By 1983 he was so entrenched in the Labor party he was able to take the leadership from Bill Hayden, and was to go on to help shape a modern Australia.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “Always in your bloody hands.”

He won four terms as Prime Minister, played a major role in reforming medicare, de-regulating the financial industry and introducing compulsory superannuation.

The former ACTU Union leader dedicated much of his political career to trade union issues.

He also proclaimed Advance Australia Fair as our national anthem.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “I genuinely love people, I love the Australian people.”

Only two other Prime Ministers served longer and both were members of the Liberal Party.

He was notorious for his love of a pint and was embraced by many as a larrikin and an avid sports fan.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “I tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.”

He had been actively supporting Labor’s campaign for elections on Saturday and said he doubted he would survive to see the Labor victory as predicted in opinion polling.

Bob Hawke, Former PM: “This is not a time for sadness. Rather, its a remembrance of a great life. Thank you.”

Georgie Hewson, QUT News.