Tributes have poured in for Labor legend and former prime minister Bob Hawke, who died this evening aged 89.
In a statement announcing his death, wife Blanche d’Alpuget mourned the loss of “a great Australian” and shared many of his most celebrated achievements.
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 jobs 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.
A memorial service will be held in Sydney in the coming weeks.
news.com.au shared glorious footage from Day 2 of the 2017 Sydney Test, in which Hawkey – after realising all cameras were on him – downed a bev like it was absolutely nothing.
Fronting media this evening at the Sydney Opera House, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said:
“We have lost a favourite son. 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 brought Australia together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment. I last had the privilege of seeing Bob last week. On his back veranda, sitting out there with his beloved Blanche, he had the sun on his face and a crossword in front of him, a cup of tea, he didn’t speak about himself to me. He did as he always does, asked about the ALP and the election. We all loved Bob Hawke, we will miss him a great deal.”
Live statement on the passing of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. https://t.co/DV0evc2ESd— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 16, 2019
“The Labor movement salutes our greatest son,” Shorten tweeted in a separate statement. “Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply.”
Current Prime Minister Scott Morrison remembered Hawke as a “great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and an intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger.”
Bob Hawke was a great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and an intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) May 16, 2019
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 and will be greatly missed.
“My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Bob’s widow Blanche and his family. May he Rest in Peace,” he further tweeted.
Former PM Paul Keating said Australia was “much the poorer for Bob Hawke’s passing.”
“With Bob Hawke’s passing today, the great partnership I enjoyed with him passes too,” he said in a statement. “A partnership we forged with the Australian people.”
My words are not enough to express who Bob Hawke was to our movement, and our country. A Labor giant, a beloved Australian. Labor governments change the country. None more so than his. pic.twitter.com/wtDPQHFKau— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) May 16, 2019
Bob Hawke was the greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had.— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) May 16, 2019
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. pic.twitter.com/4wPHdIeBUZ
Vale Bob.— Australian Labor (@AustralianLabor) May 16, 2019
We will remember him.
In solidarity, forever.
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/TyM7ZqS7Jd
Bob Hawke is a giant of Australian politics. He and Paul Keating internationalised the Australian economy. He established APEC and radically deepened Australia’s engagement with Asia. He established Medicare. Together with Therese and the entire nation, I mourn his passing.— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) May 16, 2019
A Labor Legend has passed tonight – Bob Hawke showed us how to govern and transformed modern Labor #Respect— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) May 16, 2019
More than any other, Bob Hawke was the people’s Prime Minister. Australians saw themselves in him, and he saw himself in us. The son of a school teacher and a minister, he grew up in the most ordinary of circumstance.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) May 16, 2019
RIP to the australian legend (and also prime minister), Bob Hawke pic.twitter.com/LYRZA4mnaF— peking duk (@pekingduk) May 16, 2019
Vale Bob Hawke. A giant among PMs. He had the courage to save the Franklin River when all looked lost. He got World Heritage listing of the Daintree Wet Tropics. He introduced Medicare. Legend. You’ll be missed Silver Bodgie.— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) May 16, 2019
The entire union movement grieves for the passing of Bob Hawke. Medicare. Superannuation. Modern Australia. Union movement hero.— Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) May 16, 2019
The Bob Hawke I admired was the man who saved the Franklin, the Daintree, Kakadu and protected Antarctica from mining. The Bob Hawke I befriended and laughed with every New Year’s Eve was a fellow music fan with Blanche every summer at Woodford Folk Festival. What a life! pic.twitter.com/vcmEajMY6F— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) May 16, 2019
So very sad to hear my mate and former constituent,and my parents neighbour,Bob Hawke has passed away. He was a legend in so many ways. Our love to Blanche and the family. Australia has lost a bloody good guy today.— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) May 16, 2019
Bob Hawke has died.— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) May 16, 2019
A great man who made this country confident.
A great man who never lost his humility.
Guinness book of records 1954 , 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds.
Trade Union Leader.
Thanks for everything