Bob Hawke: Former Labor prime minister dies in his sleep


Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke has died peacefully in his sleep this evening, with wife Blanche d’Alpuget at his side. He was 89.

Ms d’Alpuget has release a statement.

“He died peacefully at home at the age of 89 years. I and Bob’s children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson, Louis, and his grandchildren, will hold a private funeral.

“A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Hawke was one of the labour movement’s “greatest sons”.

“The Australian people loved Bob Hawke because they knew, Bob loved them, this was true to the very end,” he said in a statement.

“With his passing, the labour movement salutes our greatest son, the Labor Party gives thanks for the life of our longest-serving Prime Minister and Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people her cared for so deeply.”

Labor luminary Graham Richardson praised Bob Hawke.

“Above all he was a great man with a heart I think there was a kindness in Hawkey that you don’t find in many people. That’s what made him a big man despite his stature.”

Mr Hawke, Labor’s longest serving prime minister, recently spoke at Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival about fearing he would not be around to witness his party’s success at leading the next government.

“I’ve had my time; just stick around for a little while,” he said at the time.

Mr Hawk was Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister and served as leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991.

BLANCHE D’ALPUGET’S STATEMENT

“Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian — many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era.

“He died peacefully at home at the age of 89 years.

“I and Bob’s children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson, Louis, and his grandchildren, will hold a private funeral.

“A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.

“Bob Hawke and Paul Keating and their governments modernised the Australian economy, paving the way for an unprecedented period of recession-free economic growth and job creation.

“Bob’s consensus-style approach of bringing together the trade union movement and the business community boosted job opportunities while increasing the social wage through Medicare and extra financial support for low-income families.

“Together with his highly talented Cabinets, he foresaw the Asian Century and positioned Australia to take full advantage of it through a program of sweeping economic reforms.

“Among his proudest achievements were large increases in the proportion of children finishing high school, his role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and his successful international campaign to protect Antarctica from mining.

“He abhorred racism and bigotry. His father, the Reverend Clem Hawke, told Bob that if you believed in the Fatherhood of God then you must also believe in the Brotherhood of Man. “Bob would add today the Sisterhood of Women.

“Bob was dearly loved by his family, and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him.

The golden bowl is broken.”

More to come

Originally published as Former prime minister Bob Hawke dies in his sleep



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