Australia will farewell beloved former prime minister Bob Hawke in a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House
- The service will be held on June 14 at 11.30am at the Sydney Opera House
- The event will be televised and free tickets will be available from noon on May 29
- Bob Hawke, who is seen as one of Australia’s greatest leaders, died at age 89
Former prime minister Bob Hawke will be honoured at a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House on June 14.
The event will be televised from 11.30am and free tickets to attend will be available from noon on May 29 via the Opera House website.
Mr Hawke, who has been praised as one of Australia’s greatest leaders, died peacefully at home on May 16, aged 89.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke will be honoured at a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House on June 14. Mr Hawke, who has been praised as one of Australia’s greatest leaders, died peacefully at home on May 16, aged 89
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was ‘pleased Australians will have the chance to say farewell’.
‘Bob was a political giant and a national icon – it is fitting that a public celebration of his life will be held at such an iconic and beloved Australian venue,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement on Friday.
‘Bob was a man who understood Australia and the people who call our country home.’
The event will be televised from 11.30am and free tickets to attend will be available from noon on May 29 via the Opera House website
Former Labor Leader, Bill Shorten, shared his thoughts on his final meeting with Mr Hawke two days before the Federal Election.
‘He had the crossword in front of him because he had a very keen mind, and he was his usual generous self,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘We had a lovely conversation. You know when people pass, as they do, sometimes you get to talk to them before they pass, and other occasions you don’t get there in time.’
‘I feel indescribably lucky that we were able to have that time just to chat about politics and life and him.’
His wife, Blanche d’Alpuget (pictured right) said the final year of Mr Hawke’s life was both difficult and one of the best time of their lives because of how close they were
‘The country is poorer for Bob’s passing’: Tributes pour in for Mr Hawke
‘Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian – many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era … Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him.’ – Bob Hawke’s wife, Blanche d’Alpuget
‘The labour movement salutes our greatest son. Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply. May he rest in peace.’ – Labor leader Bill Shorten
‘The country is much the poorer for Bob Hawke’s passing.’ – Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating
‘Bob Hawke is a giant of Australian politics … together with Therese and the entire nation, I mourn his passing.’ Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd
‘A great man who made this country confident. A great man who never lost his humility.’ – Actor Russell Crowe
‘Vale Bob Hawke, one of our best prime ministers and Goldstein resident. Condolences to his family, who will mourn the loss of a great Australian.’ – Liberal Goldstein MP Tim Wilson
‘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.’ – Australia’s ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey
‘Without question, Bob was the greatest peacetime leader Australia ever had. And up until his very last days he remained an inspiration and a friend…As a teenager Bob inspired me, as a PM he guided me.’ – Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard
‘The entire union movement grieves for the passing of Bob Hawke. Medicare. Superannuation. Modern Australia. Union movement hero.’ – ACTU secretary Sally McManus
‘Farewell Bob Hawke a great Australian, Labor leader and reforming Prime Minister. Australia is a better place because of him. Lucy and I send our love and condolences to Blanche and all of his family.’ – Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull
‘All Australians should mourn someone who changed our country for the better because he was always prepared to argue his case, even if it meant first persuading key people on his own side.’ – Former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott
‘More than any other, Bob Hawke was the people’s prime minister. Australians saw themselves in him and he saw himself in us.’ – Victorian Premier, Labor’s Daniel Andrews
‘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.’ – Greens leader Richard Di Natale
‘His efforts to bridge the gap between black and white Australia were always sincere and continued after the end of his prime ministership.’ – Yothu Yindi Foundation chair Galarrwuy Yunupingu.
His wife, Blanche d’Alpuget said the final year of Mr Hawke’s life was both difficult and one of the best time of their lives because of how close they were.
‘We were so close and intimate during that time, while I was his main carer. And we often said to each other, we’ve been blessed to have this period together,’ she said.
‘We didn’t have the joy of young love. He had that with Hazel. We had the joy of mature love and then the love of old age.’
Mr Hawke has been remembered by all sides of politics as a man who made Australia better, his death coming two days before the Federal Election. He was the longest-serving Labor Prime Minister and had a string of achievements during his eight years in office
Mr Hawke has been remembered by all sides of politics as a man who made Australia better.
He was the longest-serving Labor Prime Minister and had a string of achievements during his eight years in office.
He introduced Medicare in 1984, which became the country’s first affordable and universal health insurance.
That same year he outlawed gender discrimination in the workplace by introducing the Sex Discrimination Act.
Mr Hawke also took steps to reconcile with Indigenous Australians through a treat and by replacing the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was replaced with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister: The life and times of Bob Hawke
- Born December 9, 1929 in Bordertown South Australia.
- A decade later his family moved to Perth, following the death of older brother Neil.
- Attended Perth Modern School before studying law at the University of Western Australia.
- Almost died in a motorbike accident.
- Took up a Rhodes scholarship but was only able to after his fiancee Hazel Masterton had an abortion, as it was only open to single men.
- While his research focused on wage determination, he became better known at Oxford for making the Guinness Book of Records for downing two and a half pints of beer in 12 seconds.
- After returning to Australia and marrying Hazel, he joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
- By 1969 he was ACTU president and the nation’s best known politician outside parliament.
MP to Prime Minister
- First attempted to enter parliament in 1963, losing to Liberal Hubert Opperman.
- Elected federal president of the Labor Party in 1973, while also ACTU president.
- He was prominent in protests in Canberra after the governor-general dismissed the Labor Whitlam government in 1975.
- Entered federal parliament at the 1980 election as MP for the Victorian seat of Wills.
- Became leader of the Labor Party February 1983, less than a month before the Liberal Fraser government called the election.
- Led the ALP to victory and became prime minister with the campaign slogan Bringing Australia Together.
Achievements as Prime Minister
- Opened the economy by floating the dollar and deregulating the financial system.
- Cut tariffs and reformed the tax system.
- Established Medicare in 1984.
- Led international efforts to protect Antarctica from mining and to save Tasmania’s Franklin Dam.
- Increased the old-age pension, doubled public housing funds and the number of childcare places.
- Established the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation.
- Campaigned against apartheid in South Africa.
Downfall as Prime Minister
- In late 1998 Hawke and treasurer Paul Keating signed the Kirribilli House pact, where he promises to hand over to Mr Keating after the 1990 election.
- He reneged on the deal.
- After one failed attempt, Mr Keating toppled him in December 1991. It was the first time Labor voted out a serving prime minister.
- Married Hazel Masterson in Perth in 1956 and they divorced in 1995.
- The couple had four children: Susan, Stephen, Roslyn and Robert.
- He remarried in 1995 to Blanche d’Alpuget, the author of his 1982 biography.