Published: Sat, May 18, 2019

Reaction to former PM Bob Hawke's death

Reaction to former PM Bob Hawke's death

Before arriving in Parliament, as president of the ACTU, Bob Hawke's ability to build consensus not only with unionists, but with his opponents, employers and government representatives, cemented his reputation as a man of great skill, courage and tenacity. "That I think was his great charm and his great strength and that enabled him to take the country with him on quite a number of important things".

Former Labor PM Julia Gillard tweeted that he was "the greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had" and sent her condolences to his family, while Kevin Rudd - Ms Gillard's predecessor and successor - called him "a giant of Australian politics".

Robert James Lee Hawke, a former trade union leader, was first elected to parliament in 1980 and was named leader of Australia's centre-left Labor Party less than a month before a snap general election in 1983.

If he loses, Australia will have its fourth prime minister in just four years. But the difference is within market researcher Ipsos Australia's 2.3 percentage-point margin of error. "It's Time" was also the campaign slogan.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued this message after news broke about Hawke's death last night. But he is also remembered for financial mismanagement that led to his Government being fired in 1975 by the Australian Governor-General.

Scott Morrison is likely to end his term as Prime Minister come Aussie polls.

"Through his many years in politics, he was a true and genuine friend of our leaders including successive prime ministers".

Australia has mandatory voting and a record 16.4 million enrolled voters. The 91 per cent of eligible voters who cast ballots at the last election in 2016 was the lowest turnout rate since failing to vote became illegal in 1924.

Hawke's Labor government introduced seminal policies including Medicare, Australia´s current system of publicly funded universal healthcare; liberalized the Australian economy; and recommended the adoption of "Advance Australia Fair" as the country´s national anthem, replacing "God Save the Queen". Labor was formed by striking sheep shearers meeting under an Outback tree in 1891.

If Scott Morrison does survive the vote, he'll be revered as a one-man election-winning machine, who fought and won largely on his own. The conservatives have ruled for 47 of those years and have been led by the longest and second-longest serving prime ministers in Australian history. Labor has pledged to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve zero emissions by 2050.

Prime minister Hawke and his treasurer, then successor, Paul Keating "modernized the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation", she said.

Voters quickly embraced Hawke and Labor won an unlikely landslide victory against the conservative government led by Malcolm Fraser, who had been in power for almost a decade, for Mr Hawke to become Australia's 23rd prime minister. Both parties have changed their rules to make dumping a prime minister between elections more hard.

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