Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister dies aged 89

Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister has died aged 89.

His wife, author Blanche d’Alpuget, announced the former Labor leaders passing, saying he’d passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Hawke served as Australia’s Prime Minister from from 1983 until 1991. He was Labor’s longest serving Prime Minister and is remembered equally for being a leader and a larrikin.

Among the former union leader’s many achievements was a decade of economic and social reform under his leadership from the establishment of the equal opportunity act, to floating the Australian dollar, and a commitment to privatisation and deregulation that reinvented the Australian economy.

During his tenure as Prime Minister he oversaw a change in the national anthem from God Save the Queen to Advance Australia Fair, and Australia’s historic bicentennial celebrations.

Under his leadership Australia was also at the forefront of tackling the AIDS epidemic, while Margaret Thatcher’s government sought to bring in laws that stopped homosexuality being mentioned in government buildings, and US President Ronald Reagan was slow to respond the the epidemic, the Hawke government to a proactive approach.

The former Prime Minister made no secret of his love of beer and women, and noted in his autobiography that in today’s media landscape he’d never have survived under the constant attention of the 24 news cycle. He left his fis wife Hazel in 1994, a few years after he left office, and the following year married his biographer Blanche d’Alpuget.

Hawke’s time as Prime Minister came to an end when Paul Keating challenged him for the leadership in 1991, by then he’d successfully won four elections for Labor, making him their most successful leader.

Hawke and Keating recently spent time together after not speaking for decades, and published a joint letter declaring their support for Labor leader Bill Shorten.

OIP Staff