Bob Hawke dead: former prime minister’s top quotes

Bob Hawke led Labor to a landslide victory at the 1983 election and went on to become one of Australia’s greatest prime ministers, but “The Silver Bodgie” was also known for making some colourful, grand, and larrikin pronouncements. Here are a few of the best:

“Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” after the 1983 America’s Cup.

“By 1990 no Australian child will live in poverty.” 1987 federal election ALP campaign launch.

“The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.”

“I find a fence a very uncomfortable place to squat my bottom.”’s-top-quotes”/>
media_cameraBob Hawke having a beer. Picture: Supplied

“Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don’t exude morality.”

“It’s a ridiculous question, and you know it’s ridiculous. I have no blood on my hands.” After being questioned in 1983 after the resignation of former Labor leader Bill Hayden.

“If this was 11 years ago, I’d be getting pretty thoroughly drunk but fortunately for me and even more fortunately for others that is 11 years ago, and the only beer that will be passing my lips will be the totally non-alcoholic variety.” On being rolled by Paul Keating’s-top-quotes”/>
media_cameraPaul Keating and Bob Hawke, in the Prime Minister’s Office, on one of their last days in Old Parliament House in 1988. Credit: Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House

“At every level of human relationships — personal, economic, cultural or sporting — a unity of understanding and purpose is rightly regarded as a desirable element in achieving success. The principle is no less true at the highest level of the nation’s affairs.” On being a Prime Minister in 1998.

“The world will not wait for us.”

“We had this crazy business of the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of the prime minister’s department and the governor of the Reserve Bank sitting down deciding what the exchange rate would be. Now, this is crazy.” on floating the Australian dollar’s-top-quotes”/>
media_cameraPrime Minister Bob Hawke and the Queen in 1988. He believed “God Save the Queen” should not be our national anthem. Picture: Supplied

“The previous Olympics, for instance, you have the Brits getting up, they win a medal — they do win one occasionally — and up goes God Save the Queen, and then Australia gets up and it’s the same anthem — now, that’s crazy.” On changing the National Anthem.

“The essence of power is the knowledge that what you do is going to have an effect, not just an immediate but perhaps a lifelong effect, on the happiness and wellbeing of millions of people and so I think the essence of power is to be conscious of what it can mean for others.” on power.”’s-top-quotes”/>
media_cameraHazel and Bob Hawke. He was not apologetic about falling out of love with her. Picture: Supplied

“The only significant other woman in my life while I was prime minister was Blanche, the only significant one. Once you fall in love, which I had with Blanche … that involves falling out of love with your wife. This is not something to be apologetic about.” on his infidelity.

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