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Statement on the passing of Bob Hawke

The Whitlam Institute is deeply saddened by the death of Bob Hawke, who was, in the words of Gough Whitlam in 2009, “one of the Labor Party’s and the Labor movement’s greatest leaders.”

On the occasion of Bob Hawke’s 80th birthday Gough wrote, “Bob’s achievements over his 80 years have been legion. It is especially worth noting that Bob was granted this country’s highest civic honour[1] before he even entered the National Parliament.”

Gough went on, “Rhodes Scholars in budgie smugglers have been much in the news recently. Bob is one such Scholar I am pleased to endorse.”

Whitlam Institute Director Leanne Smith said, “Bob Hawke and Gough Whitlam were comrades, and towering figures in Australian politics. They shared a vision for a more confident, open and egalitarian Australia, and both men continued that noble project until their final days.”

“We are all enriched by Hawke’s enduring legacy of reform - superannuation, a more open Australian economy, environmental protection, sex discrimination laws, saving the Franklin River and the great heartland Labor institution - Medicare.”

Whitlam Institute Board Chairman the Hon. John Faulkner described Bob Hawke as “the truest of Labor true believers, gregarious, a great stump orator and genuine man of the people, his life and work enriched us all.”

Whitlam Institute Distinguished Fellow Professor Jenny Hocking said “We have lost a great Australian. Bob Hawke was a consensus politician, bringing people together in government to deliver much-needed often difficult reforms which defined modern Australia.”

[1] AC - Companion of the Order of Australia – awarded in 1979