Bill Shorten & Scott Morrison Lead Tributes To Beloved Icon Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke

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. 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.” 

“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.” 

“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.”