Bob Hawke dies

Via the ABC:

Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd prime minister and Labor Party legend, has died at the age of 89.

Mr Hawke led the country and his party from 1983 to 1991, and his contribution to public life helped shape modern Australia.

A great conciliator, Mr Hawke’s achievements as prime minister included modernising the economy and integrating it into the global community, establishing Medicare, and championing environmental issues.

He won four federal elections, making him Labor’s longest-serving prime minister and Australia’s third-longest-serving prime minister behind Robert Menzies and John Howard.

Follow our live blog as Australia reacts to the news of Bob Hawke’s death
Mr Hawke is survived by his wife and biographer Blanche d’Alpuget, and his three children — Susan, Stephen and Rosslyn.

Ms d’Alpuget released a statement saying “he died peacefully at home” and that his children, stepson Louis, and his grandchildren would hold a private funeral ahead of a memorial service in Sydney in the coming weeks.

“Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues,” the statement read.

“We will miss him.

“The golden bowl is broken.”

In Bob Hawke — 23rd prime minister, true moderniser and Labor giant — Australia found a political leader the likes of which we’d never seen before.

Current Labor leader Bill Shorten tweeted that Mr Hawke was the labour movement’s “greatest son”.

“Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply,” he said.

“May he rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent his condolences to the family of a man who “will be greatly missed”.

“Bob Hawke was a great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and an intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger,” he tweeted.

“He was true to his beliefs in the Labor tradition and defined the politics of his generation and beyond.

“He had a unique ability to speak to all Australians.”

Keating mourns end of a ‘great partnership’

Mr Hawke’s legacy is closely tied to that of his famous political rival Paul Keating, who took over as prime minister and Labor leader after a 1991 leadership spill.

Mr Keating said the pair enjoyed a “great partnership” and “the country is much the poorer for Bob Hawke’s passing”.

“Bob possessed a moral framework for his important public life, both representing the workers of Australia and more broadly, the country at large,” Mr Keating said in a statement.

“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 Hawke was too ill to attend the launch of the Labor Party’s election campaign earlier this month, but Mr Keating said they had spoken about their support for Mr Shorten at the upcoming election, describing it as their “last collaboration”.

“Bob, of course, was hoping for a Labor victory this weekend. His friends too, were hoping he would see this,” Mr Keating wrote.

Labor and union figures remember a legend

Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, said Mr Hawke inspired her when she was a teenager and guided her when she was PM.

“Without question, Bob was the greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had,” Ms Gillard said.

“And up to his very last days, he remained both an inspiration and a friend.”

Fellow former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd joined the chorus of voices mourning the Labor legend.

“Bob Hawke is a giant of Australian politics,” Mr Rudd said.

WA Governor and former federal Labor leader, Kim Beazley, said the country had “lost a really great Australian”.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said it was a terrible loss to Australia and WA.

“I’m very sad that Bob is gone, he was one of the heroic figures of my lifetime and I always appreciated his advice and support,” Mr McGowan said.

Before becoming prime minister, Mr Hawke served as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 1969 to 1980.

The current leaders of the ACTU said “millions of working people owe their health, prosperity and dignity in retirement” to him.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus and president Michele O’Neil described him as “a hero to working people”.

Barrie Cassidy on Hawke’s ‘special place in history’

Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, who worked as Mr Hawke’s press secretary in the 1980s, said the former PM would have a special place in history, not only as the longest-serving Labor prime minister, but also as an economic reformer.

“Together with Paul Keating, he did open up the economy to the world and that has been well documented,” Cassidy said.

How Hawke changed Australia

As prime minister for almost nine years, Bob Hawke brought in major economic and environmental reforms that endure to this day.

Cassidy said one of the things that most impressed him about Mr Hawke was that he would not cop racism.

“He just wouldn’t cop it at any level. At the very whiff of it, he’d be right on to it,” Cassidy said.

“When he worked with the ACTU, he led the campaign against the Springboks tour over Apartheid.

“When he became prime minister, I think it was the CHOGMs in 1985, 1987, without telling anybody, a few public servants, he organised sanctions against South African.

“He briefed someone from CHOGM. Years later, the foreign minister of South Africa said that was the dagger at the heart of Apartheid.”


    • Only if the subject matter was Abbott.

      Gonna chuck a schooner today for old bob, RIP.

      • Thanks ermo. Everyone with the time should watch this. Australia is not a sycophantic appendage of the USA, we are independent, free-standing allies – making a genuine contribution to better the world. The USA knows this and value us highly.

  1. TheRedEconomistMEMBER

    A great Australian. This country was an economic basket case in the early 80’s and when Hawke and Keating came in the country changed for the better.

    You got to love the images sucking down in a pub, sucking a schooner, surrounded by scantily clad chicks in bikinis.

    Even rusted on Liberals admired him. I think Reasa gets a little inspiration from “Our Bob”

    A legend of Aussie life.

  2. ChristopherJMEMBER

    Bill and Bob
    Bill and Bob
    Flowerpot Men…

    Billy would be seeing flowers everywhere

      • Did you see Tony’s response to the passing of Bob? It was Bob’s last gift to the Labor party. Let Tony open his mouth with an unscripted response to finally destroy himself.

      • Yeah, Tony’s statement was ludicrous. Hawke enacted policies such as the floating of the dollar which John Howard wanted to do but Fraser wouldn’t let him (and John Stone also opposed them).

  3. SamscoutMEMBER

    Foreign debt took off under his government. His tariff reductions destroyed manufacturing in Australia. His sale of the commonwealth bank planted the seeds for the mess banking is in today. By the end of his reign Victoria was an economic basket case and still is. Queensland saved Australia in the 80’s as evidenced by the massive population shift to the Sunshine State. His decision to exempt housing from CGT has resulted in the greatest misallocation of capital this country has ever seen and has caused multiple generations to be locked out of the housing market.

    • SamscoutMEMBER

      It’s ironic that Hawke, a union leader introduced Australia to neoliberalism. A policy that is flawed and is now being dismantled by the redheaded leader of the so called free world and free markets.

    • what Bill Clinton did to the US with NAFTA and started the housing act that caused the GFC….. Of course GW Bush didnt help…

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Inflation was double digit when Hawke was PM, and there is a major strike every month. Hawke and Keating brought wages and inflation under control.

      • DominicMEMBER

        I think you’ll find inflation (and striking) was a problem in every country in the western world around the same time. No coincidence. To shower Hawke with the credit for taming it, no matter how great a guy he was, is a stretch too far. The inflation episode was all about the dollar and gold standard being Nixed. Conditions in this country will continue to follow the fortunes of others. We are not an independent entity.

        Bob Hawke and Warren Buffett are men who were lucky enough to be around at the beginning of a golden era for the global economy and reaped the benefits.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        The gold standard was abandoned by Nixon in the 70s. The inflation in Australia was mostly due to the wage spiral. The rest of the Western world contained it through union bashing,(UK, US, etc) however Hawke managed to reach an agreement with the union’s through ACCORD. Inflation all over the world stopped when China started manufacturing and exporting.

    • Agreed, Hawke was a globalist neo-liberal, his policies destroyed manufacturing in Victoria which the state always prided itself on, it had always been the manufacturing state. Now it simply imports hundreds of thousands of overseas students to create primary demand for consumer goods, whilst at the same time these communities develop into ethnic enclaves with little interaction with the Australian population, for example the suburb of Tarneit, God help us if Chinese Bill Shorten and his Labor Manchurian candidates win tomorrow.

    • McPaddyMEMBER

      I think ALP rusted-ons tend to paper this over. Howard made things a hell of a lot worse of course, but were those ALP reforms really all necessary and for the better? There is at least a case to answer that they were traitors to their supporters, isn’t there?

      • Yeh, he completely destroyed Australia’s manufacturing industry whilst at the same time his Treasurer was advocating for a smarter Australian economy which was not reliant on the export of primary goods, they failed miserably and then successive Liberal Governments decided to let the ‘free market’ sort out Australian manufacturing, free market in the sense that the booming economies of East and South-East Asia practice mercantilism and our manufactured exports don’t get a look in, hence why Trump is imposing tariff’s on China as a start.

  4. A great Aussie has died
    ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man.’
    there’s not really much more that one can say.
    RIP Bob

  5. Also, famous for winning the drover’s dog election and in the process ended the political career of one ex-Qld copper … (Dutto for GG?)

    • Hayden left the force because he had an epiphany and saw the error of his ways. Dutton simply moved up to take control of a larger “beat”.

  6. For all his faults, and whatever you may think of his policies, I think he truly was dedicated to improving the nation. Look who we have now…. Tits Shorten and Scummo, who are dedicated to the pursuit of power above all else.

    • +1 I think his intentions and heart was in the right place. Same with Keating, even if you don’t like their policies. You can’t fault people for trying. You can fault them for being shyte, eg: ScoMo and the Liberals.

  7. The alp of hawkes day is far different to the alp of today.
    Now filled with sjw types that are marginally more centre than the greens.
    Greens and labor might as well merge tbh

  8. A great Australian who did many good things for the country and a great bloke.

  9. It was interesting to hear Susan Ryan’s comments yesterday, especially around Hawke’s strong support of the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act.

  10. Labor will win the premiership with a wooden spoon team. Are there any real labor types that would make BH proud?

    Aspire not to wealth but to the values of great men (people)

  11. Thatcherism with a human face, Its moronic that Abbott is being slammed for his remarks on Hawke, when Abbott said today a lot of his policies were Liberal Party policies. Abbott is drawing flak for saying Hawke had a Labor heart but a Liberal head. The fact that this is an astute observation doesnt prevent the lynch mob with zero credentials in political science from rounding on him on twitter. As Thatcher herself said in her memoirs of Keating: “”I found his economics refreshingly orthodox””. Privatisation and deregulation of finance as well as freeing up the currency were all policies implemented by Thatcher in her first term, and subsequently taken up by Labor.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      Abbott was actually pretty close to the money when he described Hawke as having a Liberal head – although he missed out on the all important prefix “Neo”.

      Hawke and his equally neoliberal protege Keating were more responsible for reframing the approach of Australia’s economic problems away from society and onto the individual than any other leaders in Australia:

      Privatising Education (HECS) – check
      Commencing Immigration as an export scam – check
      Abolishing various export boards – check
      Privatising our Retirement system (ie Super) – check
      Accelerating privatisations of Govt asset sales – check

      True subsequent leaders and Govts took the Neoliberal ball and ran with it further, but Hawke and Keating were the ones most directly responsible for establishing the various intellectual and economic beach heads that turned Australia from a united society into a neoliberal multicultural economic zone that its former citizens now forced to inhabit with the worlds flotsam and jetsam who are after a short cut to a better life.

    • Agree that Abbott’s comments weren’t off the mark but they could be used to describe Zali Steggall as well.

  12. I’m too young so know nothing about Bob Hawke but I don’t like the sound of this from a quick Google…

    Bob Hawke, 1990 – “We are a richer, more diverse, better country now because we have been a country of large immigration” …

    If we had “large” immigration in the 90s, then it must be beyond insane immigration now… Ol Hawkey should have been criticising this?

    • “…….we have been a country of large immigration” Been – was likely the operative word in the day, I’m guessing he was talking of the peoples who helped build this country to that point. There were people still coming, but this recent push is on steroids & would rival the rates after the war (depending on your view, maybe with less reason now). It was a different time & a different world back then, & a different far more relaxed optimistic Australia too! Now it’s just uptight & retentive.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Hawke was mostly referring to the post WWII migration.

      Back then when the speech was made, the number of migrants is only about 60k a year. The problem is the number of migrants now is effectively over 400k a year!!

    • Yeah I figured he was referring to post-war migration. However that excuse for mass immigration is still used today – that immigrants “built” this country. Which is hilarious given the past tense of “built”. Notice how they don’t say “are building”. Whats happened? Because were importing service industry nerds and not nation building european hunks to build dams? Ahaha

    • @Dyllip
      There’s a distinct difference between the excessive, illogical, and unsustainable rate of illiterates we are importing to Australia today and post WWII European migration that did help shape this country through grit and the desire to build a new life.
      Modern Australia is nothing more than a postcolonial service economy backwater in the Pacific. A British derived society whose prosperity came from the luck of its historical origins as stated by Horne.

      What’s happened? A combination of political apathy, bread and circuses, laziness, avarice, globalisation, pathetic political representation, and a lack of an Australian consciousness has contributed.

    • Large scale immigration from European countries all but ceased to Australia from about 1980 onwards and after the Vietnamese boat people arrived here in the early 80’s immigration tapered off up until the late 90’s when the overseas student visa scam fully kicked in. What Hawke was hinting at was that he changed Australia from an inward looking country to an outward looking country focused on South-East and East Asia, all very good and well, however these countries practice mercantilist trade policies and we’re still dealing with this 30 years later, hence why Trump is taking the fight to them by imposing tariff’s on China.

    • I think the levels of immigration to which Hawke was referring are low by modern standards (roughly those supported by Dick Smith). Ironically, Hawke made those remarks in response to comments by John Howard to the effect that Australia’s cultural heritage might be undermined by increasing non-European migration. In the end, Howard became the instrument of his own apocalyptic vision.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      If we had “large” immigration in the 90s, then it must be beyond insane immigration now… Ol Hawkey should have been criticising this?

      The historical perception of immigration tends to be very different from the contemporary one.

      Pretty much everything being said about today’s immigrants, was said about history’s immigrants, at the time.

      Someone here mentioned the lady who commentates the football on SBS (can’t remember her name off the top of my head) and her history – parents were “illiterate” (ie: non-English speaking) immigrants from eastern Europe who landed in Australia with bugger all to their name, got a job in a local factory and learned how to do it with sign language.

      They were “vibrants”, to use the MB colloquialism, and were attacked as such using the equivalent derogatory abuse of the day (wogs, etc).

  13. From my teenage eyes back then the 80s were a wonderful golden period in Australia. The country was a much fairer, more egalitarian, honest, less selfish, and much happier place back then. Bob the builder had heart and brains. That is why today he is being so fondly remembered and will be viewed by history as one of the greats.

  14. Save your tears …for the treacherous legacy these elites leave behind.

    Graeme Campbell was a Labor MHR during the Hawke period, from the opening paragraph of his ‘Immigration and Consensus’ 1992.
    “After his election as Prime Minister in 1983, Bob Hawke stressed that his aim was to achieve a consensus in Australian society. A woolly concept at the best of times, it came to mean that reaching a uniformity of opinion in public issues, or maintaining an illusion of uniformity was promoted as the overriding virtue.

    To initiate debate which threatened consensus, or caused a section of the population pain. was to be divisive a term of abuse which implied that the person was not only insensitive but wilfully destructive.

    The participation of the general public was not called for in the achievement of a consensus. The consensus could be reached by various groups afforded elite status and then handed down from on high. If the general public showed signs of not living up to the high standard of consensus that was set for it, then something was wrong with the general public. It would have to be attacked for its ignorance and be educated to think correctly.

    Snugly wrapped at the heart of consensus were two interrelated issues which came to be afforded that status of sanctity: immigration and multiculturalism. The latter policy was foreshadowed by Mr Al Grassby, Immigration Minister in the Whitlam Government.”

    • jkambahMEMBER

      During the 1980s big govt, big education and big media got together to sell a new belief system to us that meets their needs. It is a way of pacifying the population against taking action to stop measures being introduced that are against our own self interest. This process has been assisted by the growth of interest groups that can use these power structures for their own interests, the lobby industry, and the financialisation of the economy.

  15. matthew hoodMEMBER

    Labor’s greatest PM……you have got to be kidding. Fisher, Curtin and Chiefly are so far in front of Bob it’s not funny. He might give the other Bob a run for his money.

    • Hang on, when Gough died he was the greatest PM. If Bill wins, in his first 100 days, he should spend $50 million dollars trying to get to the bottom off this.

  16. He deserves his name to be next to Reagan and Thatcher as a champion of neoliberalism

  17. Bob had charisma that talk his nation. One day that nation may realise why it listened.