Bob Hawke blasts Turnbull’s marriage postal survey decision

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has blasted current PM Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to hold a national postal survey on marriage.

Speaking at the National Press Club earlier today the former Labor PM described it as one of the worst economic decisions since federation. His comments prompted a strong reaction from Tony Abbott, who suggested the former Labor leader was a “silly old bugger”.

Hawke criticised the decision, saying it could not deliver a decision and parliamentarians would still be voting on the issue in parliament.

“Whatever the result of the vote is, it costs 122 million bloody dollars,” he said. “Can you imagine a prime minister would make a decision in these stringent times, spending $122m on a process that can’t produce the result when you could do so much to reduce the gaps [in Aboriginal health and education]?

“Without any question, it’s the worst economic decision made by any Australian prime minister.” Hawke said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared the postal survey process to be a great success following an announcement from Australian Bureau of Statistics that estimated that 57% of survey forms had already been returned.

Tony Abbott has dismissed Hawke’s comment’s suggesting the former Labor leader was suffering from memory loss.

“I think Bob Hawke is suffering from memory loss,” Abbott told radio station 2GB.

“It was the former Gillard Labor government which spent $16 billion on school halls, grotesquely overpriced school halls including on schools that already had them.

“It was the former Rudd/Gillard government that spent $2 billion putting pink batts into roofs which caught fire and then had to spend $2bn getting them out.”

Abbott commented that Hawke had once told a pensioner he was a “silly old bugger” and suggested it was now time for Hawke to “look in the mirror.”

“I have a lot of respect for Bob Hawke as prime minister, he was a good prime minister by Labor standards,” he said.

“But some years ago he called a pensioner who gave him a hard time at a shopping centre, I think the phrase he used was a ‘silly old bugger’.

“I think it’s time Bob looks in the mirror frankly; that’s what he called a pensioner back then and I think it is time he looks in the mirror.”

OIP Staff

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