Australians will come together on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to honour political giant and ‘larrikin’ former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
The state memorial service for Mr Hawke, who died peacefully at his Sydney home on May 16, will be broadcast from 11.30am on Friday.
More than 1,000 tickets were offered to the public free of charge for the service – and were snapped up in less than 25 minutes, while another 1,000 were offered to other politicians, friends and family.
Every living prime minister aside from Julia Gillard – who is currently overseas – will be in attendance today, including Paul Keating.
Mr Hawke and his successor had an alleged long-running feud but reunited in their later years. Mr Keating is expected to speak at the late 89-year-old’s memorial.
The state memorial service for Mr Hawke, who died peacefully at his Sydney home on May 16, will be broadcast from 11.30am on Friday
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
Mr Hawke (left) and his successor had an alleged long-running feud but reunited in their later years. Mr Keating (right) is expected to speak at the late 89-year-old’s memorial
His widow Blanche and daughter are both also expected to speak at the service, while his former staffer and adviser Craig Emerson will be the MC for the day.
Mr Emerson said described the service as ‘a joyous occasion. There’ll be tears of joy.’
The flags above Sydney Harbour Bridge and Victorian Parliament will also be flying at half mast today for the service.
Memorials and tributes dedicated to Mr Hawke were shared across Australia following his death.
Mr Hawke was the longest serving Labor prime minister and introduced historical reforms into parliament during his time as the nation’s leader.
Former Labor leader Bill Shorten described Mr Hawke as a personal, party and national hero.
‘He was my inspiration, then he became my friend,’ Mr Shorten said outside the Sydney Opera House where Mr Hawke launched campaigns in the 1980s.
Memorials and tributes dedicated to Mr Hawke were shared across Australia following his death
Mr Hawke was the longest serving Labor prime minister and introduced historical reforms into parliament during his time as the nation’s leader
Former Labor leader Bill Shorten described Mr Hawke as a personal, party and national hero
People from across the political divide also paid tribute.
‘It was his ability to connect with everyday Australians with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Mr Hawke made the Guinness Book of Records for downing a yard glass while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.
But he gave up the drink in politics and boasted he ‘didn’t touch a drop’ while in parliament.
The former ACTU leader rose through union and Labor ranks and won the party four elections, with his late first wife Hazel by his side.
The memorial will be televised from the Opera House from 11.30am
‘He was my inspiration, then he became my friend,’ Mr Shorten said outside the Sydney Opera House where Mr Hawke launched campaigns in the 1980s
But in 1991 his treasurer Paul Keating replaced him as leader, his marriage hit the rocks, and eventually he and Hazel divorced.
He married his biographer Blanche d’Alpuget in 1995.
Mr Hawke was farewelled at a private family funeral but the public remembrance will see more tributes from his loved ones and major political figures.
Former South Australian premier and Labor national president Mike Rann celebrated Mr Hawke and his lifetime of achievements in a letter last week.
‘If there is a heaven I’d like to think that they’ve now got a larrikin up there, still carousing, chatting up the angels, or puffing on a giant cigar, a beer in hand while reading the form guide… still campaigning, still winning and still getting things done,’ Mr Rann wrote.
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
‘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.