Bob Hawke arguably one of the most popular prime minister in Australia’s history.
Bob Hawke arguably one of the most popular prime minister in Australia’s history.

Tributes flow for former PM Bob Hawke

FORMER prime minister Bob Hawke has died at the age of 89.

The Labor legend died in his Sydney home on Thursday evening, just two days before the May 18 federal election.

All government flags will fly at half-mast on Friday in honour of Mr Hawke, who was arguably one of the most popular prime ministers in Australian history.

He is survived by his wife Blanche d'Alpuget, and children Susan, Stephen and Rosslyn.

24/09/2017: Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget backing the YES campaign for marriage equality. Source: Supplied
24/09/2017: Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget backing the YES campaign for marriage equality. Source: Supplied

Today, the offcie of Labor leader Bill Shorten released several photo showing his final moment with Mr Hawke.

On the balcony in the sun, Mr Hawke is seated with a smile as he shakes Mr Shorten's hand.

Bob Hawke and Bill Shorten met earlier this week in Northbridge.
Bob Hawke and Bill Shorten met earlier this week in Northbridge.

Mr Shorten appeared on Today this morning following his tribute to the Labor great last night, and said he had discussed politics with Mr Hawke at their final meeting.

He said Mr Hawke had given him a "tremendous sense of warmth and confidence".

"I feel really privileged that I was able to see him so recently," Mr Shorten said.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke speaks at the memorial service for former Labor minister Barry Cohen at Old Parliament House in February   2018.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke speaks at the memorial service for former Labor minister Barry Cohen at Old Parliament House in February 2018.

 

'THE NATION AND LABOR ARE IN MOURNING': SHORTEN'S TRIBUTE

Mr Shorten paid tribute to Mr Hawke, making a short statement to reporters in Sydney last night.

"Tonight the nation and Labor are in mourning. We have lost a favourite son," he said.

"Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke. But his legacy will endure forever.

"Bob Hawke changed Australia for the better. He brought people together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment."

Bob Hawke, with then wife Hazel, on the night of his 1983 election victory.
Bob Hawke, with then wife Hazel, on the night of his 1983 election victory.


Speaking at a rainy Brisbane airport on Thursday night, Scott Morrison said what most Australians will remember about Mr Hawke was "the bloke".

"It was his ability to connect with everyday Australians with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke," he said.

One thing I remember amongst many - it was Bob Hawke who changed our national anthem to say 'Australians all let us rejoice' and tonight ... I think we can all say as Australians all, that we rejoice in the life of Bob Hawke.

"We thank him for his service to our nation and we pray now that he Rest In Peace."

The popular former prime minister and his wife overcame myriad obstacles to be together until the end.
The popular former prime minister and his wife overcame myriad obstacles to be together until the end.

 

BLANCHE D'ALPUGET'S MOVING STATEMENT

Earlier on Thursday, Blanche d'Alpuget confirmed her beloved husband's death in a moving statement.

"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian - many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era.

"He died peacefully at home at the age of 89 years.

"I and Bob's children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson, Louis, and his grandchildren, will hold a private funeral.

"A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.

"Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and their governments modernised the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation.

"Bob's consensus-style approach of bringing together the trade union movement and the business community boosted job opportunities while increasing the social wage through Medicare and extra financial support for low-income families.

"Together with his highly talented Cabinets, he foresaw the Asian Century and positioned Australia to take full advantage of it through a program of sweeping economic reforms.

"Among his proudest achievements were large increases in the proportion of children finishing high school, his role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and his successful international campaign to protect Antarctica from mining.

"He abhorred racism and bigotry. His father, the Reverend Clem Hawke, told Bob that if you believed in the Fatherhood of God then you must also believe in the Brotherhood of Man. "Bob would add today the Sisterhood of Women.

"Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him.

The golden bowl is broken."

 

'AFTER HAWKE, WE WERE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY'

In a statement issued after the announcement of Mr Hawke's death, Bill Shorten said Mr Hawke was a "leader of conviction - and a builder of consensus".

"In Australian history, in Australian politics, there will always be B.H. and A.H: Before Hawke and After Hawke. After Hawke, we were a different country. A kinder, better, bigger and bolder country," Mr Shorten said.

"The Australian people loved Bob Hawke because they knew Bob loved them, this was true to the very end.

"At our Labor launch I told Bob we loved him, I promised we would win for him. I said the same to him the next day at his home, when I visited.

"The Sydney sun was out, that famous silver mane, now snow-white. Cigar in hand, strawberry milkshake on the table, the hefty bulk of his dictionary holding down the day's cryptic crossword.

"I gave the man who inspired me to go into politics a gentle hug, I tried to tell him what he meant to me, what he meant to all of us. I couldn't quite find the right words, few of us can, when we're face-to-face with our heroes.

"Blanche is in our hearts today, so too are Bob's children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn, his stepson Louis and his grandchildren."

 

GILLARD, TURNBULL, REMEMBER HAWKE

Former prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Julia Gillard also offered their condolences.

"Farewell Bob Hawke a great Australian, Labor leader and reforming Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull tweeted.

"Australia is a better place because of him. Lucy and I send our love and condolences to Blanche and all of his family.

Bob Hawke with Paul Keating and Julia Gillard in 2016.
Bob Hawke with Paul Keating and Julia Gillard in 2016.

Former PM Julia Gillard has remembered Bob Hawke as the "greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had".

 

"As a teenager Bob inspired me, as a PM he guided me.

"I will miss him. I wish so very much that Bob had been able to see one more election day. My condolences to Blanche, his children and grandchildren."

Paul Keating and Bob Hawke during a press conference at Parliament House in 1983.
Paul Keating and Bob Hawke during a press conference at Parliament House in 1983.

KEATING ON 'GREAT PARTNERSHIP'

Paul Keating, Mr Hawke's longtime adversary, paid tribute and reflected on their "great partnership".

It was, the former PM said, "a partnership we forged with the Australian people."

"But what remains and what will endure from that partnership are the monumental foundations of modern Australia.

"In what was our last collaboration, Bob and I were delighted to support Bill Shorten last week in recounting the rationale we employed in opening Australia to the world.

"Bob, of course, was hoping for a Labor victory this weekend. His friends too, were hoping he would see this.

"Bob possessed a moral framework for his important public life, both representing the workers of Australia and more broadly, the country at large.

"He understood that imagination was central to policy-making and never lacked the courage to do what had to be done to turn that imagination into reality.

"And that reality was the reformation of Australia's economy and society and its place in the world."

Mr Keating paid tribute to Mr Hawke's wife and his family.

"The country is much the poorer for Bob Hawke's passing," he said.

Mr Hawke's former press secretary and ABC Insiders host Barrie Cassidy told the ABC the best way to describe him was as "an intellectual knockabout."

"It covers all bases. He was the sort of person who was just as at ease with world leaders as the punters at the race track," he said.

"It was the same to him. People had the sense they could approach him at any time and have a chat with him."

 

 

A YOUNGER HAWKE

Bob Hawke was born in South Australia on December 9, 1929, but moved to Western Australia as a child.

Hawke always had big political ambitions. It's believed he said, at just 15, that he would one day lead the nation.

He joined the Labor Party in 1947 and led the University of Western Australia's Student Representative Council, where he studies a double degree in law and arts. He graduated in 1953.

He went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

A Rhodes Scholar,  Bob Hawke always had big political ambitions.
A Rhodes Scholar, Bob Hawke always had big political ambitions.

During his time there, he befriended many overseas students, which led him to found the International Club.

He described himself as a "pretty haphazard" student during the first two terms of his course, and was lucky he had the smarts to do little work.

But during that same year he suffered a serious motorbike accident and almost lost his life. It was a turning point for Hawke, who said it prompted him to live life to its fullest.

He never liked the idea of being a lawyer, and did not complete the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics he initially undertook under the Rhodes scholarship at Oxford. Instead, he penned a thesis on the history of wage-fixing in Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Letters in 1955.

But they weren't his only impressive accolades; the former PM was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records for skolling 2.5 pints (1.12 litres) in 11 seconds.

Then ACTU President Bob Hawke and Ian Sykes of XL Petroleum trying to avert oil strike chaos in 1972.
Then ACTU President Bob Hawke and Ian Sykes of XL Petroleum trying to avert oil strike chaos in 1972.

RISE TO POWER

Hawke first attempted to enter federal Parliament by contesting the seat of Corio, Victoria, held by Liberal MP Hubert Oppermann, in 1963. Mr Oppermann had represented the division since 1949. Hawke was unsuccessful.

After his failed bid, he was elected president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1969, and ALP president in 1973.

The ACTU recognises Hawke as leading the organisation through a period of significant social change, including amping up the organisation's influence in areas including education, health and housing.

Bob Hawke in his ACTU days with then PM  Gough Whitlam.
Bob Hawke in his ACTU days with then PM Gough Whitlam.

He ran for parliament again at the 1980 Federal Election, when Labor leader Bill Hayden took on incumbent Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser. While the ALP wasn't swept into power, Hawke snapped up the Victorian seat of Wills by a hefty margin, and was then appointed Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations.

Just two years later he was narrowly defeated in a leadership ballot called by ALP leader Bill Hayden. But he was given another shot at the leadership early in 1983 and was elected unopposed.

He led Labor to victory at the 1983 election in a landslide with the slogan "Bringing Australia Together". Against a backdrop of high inflation and unemployment, his victory ended seven years of Liberal Party rule.

Hawke’s victory in 1983.
Hawke’s victory in 1983.

TIME AS LEADER

Hawke led the ALP to four consecutive victories during his time as leader from 1983 to 1991.

He governed amid challenges posed by globalisation and industrial relations, and his government worked to improve economic and employment growth

Arguably, Hawke's signature policy was the introduction of Medicare in 1984, Australia's universal healthcare system. He introduced it after the Medibank scheme introduced by Gough Whitlam was partially dismantled during the Fraser Government.

He was also known for modernising and integrating Australia's economy into the global economy. Hawke deregulated the financial system and floated the dollar and reduced tariffs that Labor had traditionally relied on to protect industry and jobs. Low-income families were given greater financial assistance, and sex discrimination in the workplace was outlawed. Hawke also introduced the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).

Members of the Hawke ministry in 1984 on the steps of Parliament House, Canberra. Picture: National Archives of Australia
Members of the Hawke ministry in 1984 on the steps of Parliament House, Canberra. Picture: National Archives of Australia

"Bob was an absolutely brilliant prime minister. He touched every leadership base you can think of. He had a very strong sense of policy direction, he was an excellent communicator to the public, the world at large, he was charismatic to go with it and he was a terrific manager of people," Former Hawke cabinet minister Gareth Evans said, according to the ABC.

But he was not without his critics.

Some believed he'd 'hijacked' the party and moved it to the right through his strengthening of private enterprise. His close relationships with leading businessmen also drew ire.

As a recession took hold in the late 1980s, there were doubts Hawke would win the 1990 election, which he ultimately pulled off on a tight margin. But eventually, he lost the support of the Labor Right, who threw their support behind treasurer Paul Keating in a 1991 leadership spill. Keating would go on to lead the party until 1996.

RELATIONSHIP WITH PAUL KEATING

Bob Hawke elevated Paul Keating to treasurer upon winning government in 1983. Their partnership was credited as helping the ALP achieve continued electoral success by moving the party toward the centre, and winning the support of Liberal-National voters.

But things began to take a sour turn in 1998. A secret meeting dubbed the "Kirribilli Agreement" took place as opinion polls began to wane, and Hawke agreed to hand over power to Keating if he won the 1990 election.

In later years, Bob Hawke spoke of his famous rivalry with Paul Keating, saying he wanted  the public to “look at the  positives”.  Picture: Alan Porritt
In later years, Bob Hawke spoke of his famous rivalry with Paul Keating, saying he wanted the public to “look at the positives”. Picture: Alan Porritt

But he didn't, prompting two Keating-initiated leadership spills in 1991, the second of which Hawke would lose. He would go on to sit on the backbench for a brief period, before retiring in 1992.

The two traded barbs as the years went on, but Hawke said in 2014 he wanted the Australian public to remember them for what they achieved.

"I would like history to talk about Paul and myself in terms of the great things we were able to do together. His ambition to become leader was perfectly justified and in the end he had his opportunity and he did some good things. So I hope history will look at the positives and not the occasional tiffs," Hawke told the ABC.

December 19, 1991: Keating makes his move.
December 19, 1991: Keating makes his move.

LIFE AFTER POLITICS

After quitting politics, Hawke took TV journalism in his stride, interviewing international political figures for Channel 9. He also penned The Hawke Memoirs, and became a successful businessman working as a consultant and dealing in the property market.

He continued to remain involved in the Labor Party, supporting Kevin Rudd during the 2007 election and campaigning against John Howard's WorkChoices. Similarly, he made appearances during the ALP's 2010 and 2013 election campaigns, too.

During his time in office, Hawke was married to Hazel, and the breakup of their marriage in 1994 caused public dismay and family upheaval.

After his divorce in 1995 Mr Hawke married his biographer, Blanche d'Alpuget.

Hawke began an affair with d'Alpuget in 1976, but it's believed he stayed with Hazel to preserve his prime ministerial aspirations.

Bob Hawke during a luncheon to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Australia II's America's Cup victory in 1983. Hawke wore the same jacket he wore on the day of the win.  Picture: Gregg Porteous
Bob Hawke during a luncheon to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Australia II's America's Cup victory in 1983. Hawke wore the same jacket he wore on the day of the win. Picture: Gregg Porteous

Hawke reportedly said his post-political life had been "extraordinarily interesting and fulfilling". He was a keen punter, remained sport-obsessed, and even at 88-years-old was caught skolling a beer at the SCG.


TIMELINE:

1929: Robert James Lee Hawke, the son of Arthur Hawke and Edith Lee, is born in Bordertown, South Australia

1947: Hawke joins the Australian Labor Party

1953: Graduates from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Letters and Bachelor of Arts (Economics)

1954: Hawke is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for skolling 2.5 pints (1.12 litres) of beer in 11 seconds

Bob Hawke in Perth, 1952.
Bob Hawke in Perth, 1952.

1955: Graduates from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar with a Bachelor of Letters

1956: Returns to Australia to take up a research scholarship at the Australian National University

1956: Marries Hazel Masterson

1956: The couple welcome their first child, Susan

1958: Becomes a research officer and advocate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions

1963: Fails to win the seat of Corio (Victoria) in his first attempt to enter federal Parliament from Liberal MP Hubert Oppermann

1969: Becomes ACTU president

1971: Elected to the federal executive of the ALP

1973: Elected president of the ALP

1979: Honoured with the Companion of the Order of Australia

1980: Resigns from the ACTU and announces his intention to enter federal Parliament

1980: Wins the seat of Wills (Victoria) and is appointed Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Employment and Youth Affairs

1982: Challenges ALP leader Bill Hayden, but loses the caucus ballot

1983: Elected as leader of the ALP

1983: Leads the ALP to their greatest election win in 40 years after just one month as opposition leader

1983: The Australian dollar is floated after being pegged to the US dollar

1984: Hawke introduces universal health care, commonly known as Medicare

1984: He announces Advance Australia Fair as the national anthem

Queen Elizabeth and Bob Hawke in 1988. Picture: Supplied
Queen Elizabeth and Bob Hawke in 1988. Picture: Supplied

1984: Promotes Charles Perkins, the first indigenous person to head a Commonwealth Department, as Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs

1989: The Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) is introduced, ending 15 years of free tertiary education

1989: Hawke forms the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

1990: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission is established

Prime Minister Bob Hawke and wife Hazel with 1990 Young Australian of the Year Cathy Freeman and Australian of the Year, eye surgeon pioneer Professor Fred Hollows after presentation ceremony at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Australia Day, 1990.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke and wife Hazel with 1990 Young Australian of the Year Cathy Freeman and Australian of the Year, eye surgeon pioneer Professor Fred Hollows after presentation ceremony at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Australia Day, 1990.

1991: Universal compulsory superannuation introduced in the Hawke Government's final budget

1991: Hawke loses leadership to Paul Keating

1992: Resigns from parliament

1995: Bob and Hazel divorce

1995: Marries Blanche d'Alpuget

2008: Attends Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations

2009: Helps establish the Centre for Muslin and Non-Muslim Understanding

2016: Awarded honorary doctorate from The University of Sydney

Bob Hawke with his wife Blanche d’Alpuget.
Bob Hawke with his wife Blanche d’Alpuget.

Ballina's Riding for the Disabled turns 40

Ballina's Riding for the Disabled turns 40

The organisation has helped hundreds of people over the years

Skate parks closed for much-needed maintenance

Skate parks closed for much-needed maintenance

The work will be finished in time for popular skateboarding comp

Night works begin on The Coast Rd

Night works begin on The Coast Rd

Two new roundabouts and an underpass are being built