Bob Hawke
Overview
 
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

 GCL (born 9 December 1929) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 (ALP) Prime Minister.

After a decade as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Council of Trade Unions
The Australian Council of Trade Unions is the largest peak body representing workers in Australia. It is a national trade union centre of 46 affiliated unions.-History:The ACTU was formed in 1927 as the "Australian Council of Trade Unions"...

, he entered politics at the 1980 federal election
Australian federal election, 1980
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 October 1980. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and 34 of the 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Malcolm Fraser with coalition partner the National Country Party led by Doug...

 and became Prime Minister within three years. He became the longest-serving and most electorally successful Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 Prime Minister, leading the ALP to four consecutive federal elections between 1983
Australian federal election, 1983
Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election, following a double dissolution...

 and 1990.
Encyclopedia
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

 GCL (born 9 December 1929) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 (ALP) Prime Minister.

After a decade as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Council of Trade Unions
The Australian Council of Trade Unions is the largest peak body representing workers in Australia. It is a national trade union centre of 46 affiliated unions.-History:The ACTU was formed in 1927 as the "Australian Council of Trade Unions"...

, he entered politics at the 1980 federal election
Australian federal election, 1980
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 October 1980. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and 34 of the 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Malcolm Fraser with coalition partner the National Country Party led by Doug...

 and became Prime Minister within three years. He became the longest-serving and most electorally successful Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 Prime Minister, leading the ALP to four consecutive federal elections between 1983
Australian federal election, 1983
Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election, following a double dissolution...

 and 1990. He is Australia's third-longest-serving Prime Minister.

Early life and education

Hawke was born in Bordertown
Bordertown, South Australia
Bordertown is a small South Australian town near the Victorian border. It is where the Dukes Highway and the railway line, the two main routes between Adelaide and Melbourne, cross Tatiara Creek....

, a small town in South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

 near the Victorian border. His father Clem was a Congregationalist
Congregational church
Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

 minister; his uncle, Albert Hawke
Albert Hawke
Albert Redvers George Hawke was the 18th Premier of Western Australia.Hawke was born to James Renfrey Hawke and Eliza Ann Blinman Pascoe, both of Cornish descent, in Kapunda, South Australia...

, was Labor Premier of Western Australia
Premier of Western Australia
The Premier of Western Australia is the head of the executive government in the Australian State of Western Australia. The Premier has similar functions in Western Australia to those performed by the Prime Minister of Australia at the national level, subject to the different Constitutions...

 between 1953 and 1959 and was a close friend of Labor Prime Minister John Curtin
John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

, who was in many ways Bob Hawke's role model
Role model
The term role model generally means any "person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others".The term first appeared in Robert K. Merton's socialization research of medical students...

. Hawke's mother, Ellie, had an almost messianic belief in her son's destiny and this contributed to his supreme self-confidence throughout his career. Both his parents were of Cornish
Cornish Australian
Cornish Australians are citizens of Australia whose ancestry originates in Cornwall, United Kingdom, one of the six Celtic Nations. They form part of the worldwide Cornish diaspora which also includes large numbers of people in the US, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and many Latin...

 origins and he himself has stated that his background is Cornish. This led the Cornish writer and historian A.L. Rowse to write "Bob Hawke's characteristics are as Cornish as Australian. I know them well: the aggressive individualism, the egoism, the touchiness, the liability to resentment, even a touch of vindictiveness." While attending the 1952 World Christian Youth Conference, held in Kottayam
Kottayam
Kottayam is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative capital of the Kottayam district. Kottayam Kottayam (Malayalam: കോട്ടയം) is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative...

 in southern India, Hawke was struck by "this enormous sense of irrelevance of religion to the needs of the people" and abandoned his Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 beliefs. By the time he entered politics he was a self-described agnostic. Hawke told Andrew Denton
Andrew Denton
Andrew Christopher Denton is an Australian television producer, comedian, Gold Logie-nominated television presenter and former radio host, and was the host of the ABC's weekly television interview program Enough Rope. He is known for his comedy and interviewing technique...

 in 2008 that his father's Christian faith continued to influence his outlook however: "[My father] said if you believe in the fatherhood of God you must necessarily believe in the brotherhood of man, it follows necessarily and even though I left the church and was not religious, that truth remained with me."

Hawke was raised in Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

 and attended Perth Modern School
Perth Modern School
Perth Modern School is an academically-selective co-educational public high school located in Subiaco, an inner city suburb of Perth, Western Australia.The school, established in 1911, now caters for students with high academic ability....

 and completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (Economics) at the University of Western Australia
University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia was established by an Act of the Western Australian Parliament in February 1911, and began teaching students for the first time in 1913. It is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia and the only university in the state to be a member of the...

. At age 15, he boasted that he would one day become Prime Minister of Australia. He joined the Labor Party in 1947, and successfully applied for a Rhodes Scholar
Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...

ship at the end of 1952. In 1953, Hawke went to the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 to commence a Bachelor of Arts at University College
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

. He soon found he was covering much the same ground as his Bachelor's degree from Perth, and switched to a Bachelor of Letters, with a thesis on wage-fixing in Australia. The thesis was successfully presented in January 1956.

His academic achievements were complemented by setting a new world speed record for beer drinking: he downed 2 1/2 pints - equivalent to a yard of ale - from a sconce pot in eleven seconds as part of a college penalty. In his memoirs, Hawke suggested that this single feat may have contributed to his political success more than any other, by endearing him to a voting population with a strong beer culture.

In March 1956, Hawke married Hazel Masterson
Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke, AO is the former wife of Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia 1983–91. They divorced after he left the prime ministership. She worked in social policy areas, and was an excellent amateur pianist and a patron of the arts...

, at Trinity Church, Perth, Western Australia. In the same year, Hawke accepted a scholarship to undertake doctoral studies in the area of arbitration law in the law department of the Australian National University
Australian National University
The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

 (ANU), Canberra. Soon after arrival at ANU, Hawke became the students' representative on the University Council.

In 1957, Hawke was recommended to the ACTU president Albert Monk for the position of ACTU research officer to replace Harold Souter, who had become ACTU secretary. The recommendation was made by Hawke's mentor at ANU, H.P. Brown, who for a number of years had assisted the ACTU in national wage cases. Hawke decided to abandon his doctoral studies and accept the offer. The Hawke family moved to Melbourne.

Trade union leader

Not long after Hawke began work at the ACTU, he became responsible for the presentation of its annual case for higher wages to the national wages tribunal, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission
Australian Industrial Relations Commission
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission, or AIRC , was a tribunal with powers under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. It was the central institution of Australian labour law...

. He was first appointed as the ACTU advocate in 1959. The 1958 case, under advocate R.L Eggleston, had yielded only a five-shilling increase. The 1959 case found for a fifteen-shilling increase, and was regarded as a personal triumph for Hawke. He went on to attain such success and prominence in his role as ACTU advocate, that in 1969 he was encouraged to run for ACTU President, despite the fact that he had never held elected office in a trade union.

He was elected to the presidency of the ACTU in 1969 on a modernising platform, by a narrow margin (399 to 350) and with the support of the left of the union movement, including some associated with the Communist Party
Communist Party of Australia
The Communist Party of Australia was founded in 1920 and dissolved in 1991; it was succeeded by the Socialist Party of Australia, which then renamed itself, becoming the current Communist Party of Australia. The CPA achieved its greatest political strength in the 1940s and faced an attempted...

.

Hawke declared publicly that "socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 is not a word I would use to describe myself" and his approach to government was pragmatic
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

. He concerned himself with making improvements to workers' lives from within the traditional institutions of government, rather than to any ideological theory. He opposed the Vietnam war
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, but was a strong supporter of the US-Australian alliance, and also an emotional supporter of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. It was his commitment to the cause of Jewish Refuseniks that led to a planned assassination attempt by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

, and its Australian operative Munif Mohammed Abou Rish
Munif Mohammed Abou Rish
Munif Mohammed Abou Rish was a Palestinian/Australian journalist, who in 1974 planned to assassinate Bob Hawke, the Federal President of the Australian Labor Party, who later became Prime Minister of Australia...

.

In industrial matters, Hawke continued to demonstrate a preference for and considerable skill at negotiation, and was generally liked and respected by employers as well as the unions he advocated for. As early as 1972 speculation began that he would soon enter Parliament and become Labor leader. But while his career continued successfully, his heavy use of alcohol and his notorious womanising placed considerable strains on his family life.

In 1973 Hawke became Federal President of the Labor Party. When the Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 government was controversially dismissed by the Governor-General
Australian constitutional crisis of 1975
The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis has been described as the greatest political crisis and constitutional crisis in Australia's history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the removal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party , by Governor-General Sir John Kerr...

 in 1975 and the government defeated at the ensuing election, Whitlam initially offered the Labor leadership to Hawke, although it was not within Whitlam's power to decide who would succeed him. Hawke decided not to enter Parliament at that time, a decision he soon regretted. He was, however, influential in averting national strike action. The strain of this period took its toll, and in 1979 he suffered a physical collapse.

This shock led Hawke to make a sustained and ultimately successful effort to conquer his alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 – John Curtin
John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

 was his inspiration in this as in other things. He was helped in this by his relationship with the writer Blanche d'Alpuget
Blanche d'Alpuget
Josephine Blanche d'Alpuget is an Australian writer, and second wife of the longest-serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.-Biography:...

, who in 1982 published an admiring biography of Hawke. His popularity with the public was unaffected, and polling suggested that he was a far more popular politician than either Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden
William George "Bill" Hayden AC was the 21st Governor-General of Australia. Prior to this, he represented the Australian Labor Party in parliament; he was a minister in the government of Gough Whitlam, and later became Leader of the Opposition, narrowly losing the 1980 federal election to the...

, the Labor leader since 1977, or the incumbent Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

 Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

.

Parliamentarian

Hawke initially attempted to enter parliament at the 1963 federal election in the seat of Corio
Division of Corio
The Division of Corio is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. The division one of the original 75 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named for Corio Bay. It has always been based on the city of Geelong, although in the past it has also included parts of the western...

 and achieved a 3.1 percent swing against the national trend, but fell short. Later, he was elected to the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

 for the Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 seat of Wills
Division of Wills
The Division of Wills is an Australian electoral division of Victoria. It is currently held by the Australian Labor Party's Kelvin Thomson.The electorate encompasses many of the suburbs in the City of Moreland in Melbourne's north, including Brunswick, Coburg, Fawkner, Glenroy, and Essendon Airport...

 at the 1980 election
Australian federal election, 1980
Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 October 1980. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and 34 of the 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Malcolm Fraser with coalition partner the National Country Party led by Doug...

 held on 18 October. Immediately upon his entry into Parliament, Hawke was appointed to the Opposition front bench, taking his place as Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Employment and Youth. With the opinion polls indicating that Hawke was 'a certain election winner', Hayden called a leadership ballot for 16 July 1982. Although Hayden defeated the ambitious Hawke, his five vote victory over the former President of the ACTU was not large enough to dispel doubts in caucus that he could lead the ALP to victory at the next election, due sometime in the forthcoming year.

Hayden's leadership was further questioned when Labor performed poorly in a December 1982 by-election
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 for the Victorian seat of Flinders
Division of Flinders
The Division of Flinders is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. The division was one of the original 75 divisions contested at the first federal election...

, following the resignation of the former Liberal minister, Sir Phillip Lynch
Phillip Lynch
Sir Phillip Reginald Lynch KCMG was an Australian Liberal politician.Lynch held the House of Representatives seat of Flinders from 1966 to 1982. Between 1968 and 1972, he served variously as Minister for the Army, Minister for Immigration, and Minister for Labour and National Service, under Prime...

. Labor needed a swing of 5.5% to win the seat, but only achieved 3%. This convinced many doubters within caucus that only Hawke could guarantee a Labor victory at the upcoming election. Labor party power-brokers such as Graham Richardson
Graham Richardson
Graham Frederick Richardson , a former Australian politician, was a Senator for New South Wales from 1983–94 for the Australian Labor Party, a senior minister in Hawke and Keating governments, and is now a political lobbyist, public speaker, and media commentator. During his time in politics,...

 and Barrie Unsworth
Barrie Unsworth
Barrie John Unsworth was an Australian politician, representing the Australian Labor Party in the Parliament of New South Wales from 1978 to 1991. He served as the 36th Premier from July 1986 to March 1988.-Early years:...

 now lined up behind Hawke. More significantly, Hayden's staunch friend and political ally, Labor senate Leader John Button
John Button
John Norman Button was an Australian politician, who served as a senior minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor governments...

, eventually became convinced that Hawke's chances of victory were greater than Hayden's. Button's influence was crucial in encouraging Hayden's decision to resign less than two months after Labor's lacklustre performance in Flinders. Hawke's leadership ambitions were realised when Hayden announced his resignation as Labor leader on the morning of 3 February 1983, at a meeting of the shadow ministry in Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

. Hawke was named interim leader. The same day, Fraser, hoping to capitalise on Labor's feuding, and unaware of events that had taken place in Brisbane, called a double dissolution
Double dissolution
A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate....

 election for 5 March
Australian federal election, 1983
Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election, following a double dissolution...

. He believed he'd caught Labor before it could replace Hayden, and was surprised to find out Hayden had resigned mere hours before the writs were dropped. Hawke was formally elected Hayden's successor five days later. Twenty five days later, Labor won power on a 24-seat swing, ending seven years of conservative rule.

Prime Minister 1983–91

The inaugural days of the Hawke government were distinctly different from those of the Whitlam era. Rather than immediately initiating extensive reform programmes, Hawke announced that Fraser's pre-election concealment of the budget deficit meant that many of Labor's election commitments would have to be deferred. Hawke managed to persuade the Labor caucus to divide the ministry into two tiers, with only the most important ministers attending regular cabinet meetings. Caucus still selected the full ministry, but allowed Hawke to select which ministers would comprise the 13-strong inner cabinet. This was to avoid what Hawke viewed as the unwieldy nature of the 27-member Whitlam cabinet. The caucus under Hawke also exhibited a much more formalised system of parliamentary factions
Political faction
A political faction is a grouping of individuals, such as a political party, a trade union, or other group with a political purpose. A faction or political party may include fragmented sub-factions, “parties within a party," which may be referred to as power blocs, or voting blocs. The individuals...

, which significantly altered the dynamics of caucus operations.

Hawke used his great authority to carry out a substantial set of policy changes. Accounts from ministers indicate that while Hawke was not usually the driving force for economic reform (that impetus coming from the Treasurer Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 and Industry Minister John Button
John Button
John Norman Button was an Australian politician, who served as a senior minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor governments...

), he took the role of reaching consensus and providing political guidance on what was electorally feasible and how best to sell it to the public, at which he was highly successful. Hawke proved to be very popular with the Australian electorate and continues to hold the highest historical ACNielsen approval rating.

Keating and Hawke provided a study in contrasts. Hawke was a Rhodes Scholar; Keating left high school early. Hawke's enthusiasms were cigars, horse racing and all forms of sport; Keating preferred classical architecture
Classical architecture
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...

, Mahler symphonies, and collecting English Regency and French Empire antiques. Hawke was consensus-driven; Keating revelled in aggressive debate. Hawke was a lapsed Protestant; Keating was a practising Catholic. Despite their differences, the two formed an effective political partnership.

According to political commentator Paul Kelly, 'the most influential economic decisions of the 1980s were the floating of the Australian Dollar
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

 and the deregulation of the financial system'. Although the Fraser government had played a part in the process of financial deregulation by commissioning the Campbell reportpublished in 1981opposition from Fraser himself, the National Party and Treasury Secretary John Stone stalled the deregulation process. When the Hawke-Keating Government implemented a comprehensive program of financial deregulation and reform, it 'transformed economics and politics in Australia'. The Australian economy became significantly more integrated with the global economy. Both Hawke and Keating have claimed the credit for being the driving force behind the Australian Dollar float.

Among other reforms, the Hawke Government dismantled the tariff system, privatised state sector industries, ended subsidisation of loss-making industries, and sold off the state-owned Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The tax system was reformed, with the introduction of fringe benefits tax and a capital gains tax – a reform strongly opposed by the Liberal Party at the time, but not reversed when they returned to office. Partially offsetting these imposts upon the business communitythe 'main loser' from the 1985 Tax Summit, according to Paul Kellywas the introduction of full dividend imputation
Dividend imputation
Dividend imputation is a corporate tax system in which some or all of the tax paid by a company may be attributed, or imputed, to the shareholders by way of a tax credit to reduce the income tax payable on a distribution...

, a reform insisted upon by Keating.

Hawke benefited greatly from the disarray into which the Liberal opposition fell after the resignation of Fraser. The Liberals were divided between supporters of the dour socially conservative John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 and the urbane Andrew Peacock
Andrew Peacock
Andrew Sharp Peacock AC, GCL , is a former Australian Liberal politician. He was a minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments, and was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia 1983–1985 and 1989–1990...

. The arch-conservative Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen
Joh Bjelke-Petersen
Sir Johannes "Joh" Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG , was an Australian politician. He was the longest-serving and longest-lived Premier of Queensland, holding office from 1968 to 1987, a period that saw considerable economic development in the state...

, also helped Hawke with his "Joh for Canberra
Joh for Canberra
The Joh for Canberra or Joh for PM campaign was an attempt by the Queensland branch of the National Party of Australia to install Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen as Prime Minister of Australia....

" campaign in 1987, which proved highly damaging for the conservatives. Exploiting these divisions, Hawke led the Labor Party to comfortable election victories in 1984 and 1987.

Hawke's Prime Ministership saw considerable friction between himself and the grassroots of the Labor Party, who were unhappy at what they viewed as Hawke's iconoclasm and willingness to cooperate with business interests. All Labor Prime Ministers have at times engendered the hostility of the organisational wing of the party, but none more so than Hawke, who expressed his willingness to cull Labor's "sacred cows". The Socialist Left faction, as well as prominent Labor figure Barry Jones
Barry Jones (Australian politician)
Barry Owen Jones AO, FAA, FASSA, FAHA, FTSE, FACE is a writer, lawyer, social activist, quiz champion and former politician. He campaigned against the death penalty throughout the 1960s, particularly against the execution of Ronald Ryan, and remains against capital punishment...

, offered severe criticism of a number of government decisions. He has also received criticism for his 'confrontationalist style' in siding with the airlines in the 1989 Australian pilots' strike
1989 Australian pilots' strike
The 1989 Australian pilots' dispute was one of the most expensive and dramatic industrial disputes in Australia's history. It was co-ordinated by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots after a prolonged period of wage suppression, to support its campaign for a large pay increase The 1989...

.

In spite of the criticisms levelled against the Hawke Government, it succeeded in enacting a wide range of social reforms during its time in office. Deflecting arguments that the Hawke Government had failed as a reform government, Neville Wran
Neville Wran
Neville Kenneth Wran, AC, CNZM, QC was the Premier of New South Wales from 1976 until 1986. He was National President of the Australian Labor Party from 1980 to 1986 and Chairman of both the Lionel Murphy Foundation and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation from 1986...

, John Dawkins
John Dawkins
John Sydney "Joe" Dawkins, AO , Australian politician, was Treasurer in the Keating Labor government from December 1991 to December 1993...

, Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden
William George "Bill" Hayden AC was the 21st Governor-General of Australia. Prior to this, he represented the Australian Labor Party in parliament; he was a minister in the government of Gough Whitlam, and later became Leader of the Opposition, narrowly losing the 1980 federal election to the...

, and Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 made a number of speeches during the Eighties arguing that the Hawke Government had been a recognisably reformist Labor government, drawing attention to Hawke’s achievements as prime minister during his first four or five years in office. Apart from the reintroduction of Medibank (under the name Medicare
Medicare (Australia)
Medicare is Australia's publicly funded universal health care system, operated by the government authority Medicare Australia. Medicare is intended to provide affordable treatment by doctors and in public hospitals for all resident citizens and permanent residents except for those on Norfolk Island...

), these included a doubling of child care places, the introduction of occupational superannuation, a boost in school retention rates, a focus on young people’s job skills, a doubling of subsidised home care services, the elimination of poverty traps in the welfare system, a 50% increase in public housing funds, an increase in the real value of the old-age pension, the development of a new youth support program, the re-introduction of six-monthly indexation of single adult unemployment benefits, and significant improvements in social security provisions. As pointed out by John Dawkins, the proportion of total government outlays allocated to families, the sick, single parents, widows, the handicapped, and veterans had been higher under the Hawke Government than under the Whitlam Government.

A notable success for which the government's response is given considerable credit was Australia's public health campaign
HIV/AIDS in Australia
The history of HIV/AIDS in Australia is distinctive. Australia was a country which recognised and responded to the AIDS pandemic relatively swiftly, with one of the most successful disease prevention and public health education programs in the world...

 about AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

. In the later years of the Hawke government, Aboriginal affairs saw considerable attention, with an investigation of the idea of a treaty between Aborigines and the government, though this idea was overtaken by events, notably including the Mabo court decision.

The Hawke government also made some notable environmental decisions. In its first months in office it stopped the construction of the Franklin Dam
Franklin Dam
The Franklin Dam or Gordon-below-Franklin Dam project was a proposed dam on the Gordon River in Tasmania, Australia, that was never constructed. The movement that eventually led to the project's cancellation became one of most significant environmental campaigns in Australian history.The dam was...

, on the Franklin River
Franklin River
The Franklin River lies in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park at the mid northern area of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Its source is situated at the western edge of the Central Highlands and it continues west towards the West Coast of Tasmania...

 in Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, responding to a groundswell of protest about the issue. In 1990, a looming tight election saw a tough political operator, Graham Richardson
Graham Richardson
Graham Frederick Richardson , a former Australian politician, was a Senator for New South Wales from 1983–94 for the Australian Labor Party, a senior minister in Hawke and Keating governments, and is now a political lobbyist, public speaker, and media commentator. During his time in politics,...

, appointed Environment Minister, whose task it was to attract second-preference votes from the Australian Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

 and other environmental parties. Richardson claimed this as a major factor in the government's narrow re-election in 1990, Hawke's last triumph.

Richardson felt that the importance of his contribution to Labor's victory would automatically entitle him to the ministerial portfolio of his choiceTransport and Communications. He was shocked, however, at what he perceived as Hawke's ingratitude in allocating him Social Security instead. He vowedin a telephone conversation with Peter Barron, a former Hawke political stafferto do 'whatever it takes' to 'get' Hawke. He immediately transferred his allegiance to Keating and subsequently claimed credit for playing a vital role in Keating's campaign for the leadership as a numbers man.

Decline and fall

The late 1980s recession
Late 1980s recession
The recession of the early 1990s describes the period of economic downturn affecting much of the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s.-Causes:...

 and high interest rates saw the government in considerable electoral trouble. Although Keating was the main architect of the government's economic policies, he took advantage of Hawke's declining popularity to plan a leadership challenge. In 1988 Hawke had responded to pressure from Keating to step down by making a secret agreement (the so-called "Kirribilli
Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House is the official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister. The house is located at the far eastern end of Kirribilli Avenue in the harbourside suburb of Kirribilli...

 agreement" or "Kirribilli accord") to resign in favour of Keating some time after winning the 1990 election. After Keating made a speech to the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery
Canberra Press Gallery
The Canberra Press Gallery, officially called the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, is the name given to the approximately 180 journalists and their support staff, including producers, editors and camera crews, who report the workings of the Australian Parliament...

 that Hawke considered disloyal, Hawke indicated to Keating that he would renege on the agreement.

In June 1991 Keating responded by resigning from Cabinet and challenging for the Labor Party leadership. Hawke defeated Keating's leadership challenge, but he was clearly a wounded leader. Hawke had himself sworn in as Treasurer for one day while he decided between the rival claims of Ralph Willis
Ralph Willis
Ralph Willis AO , Australian politician, was Treasurer for the final years of the Keating Labor Government.-Career:Willis was born in Melbourne to Stan and Doris Willis and educated at Footscray Central School, University High School and Melbourne University, gaining a Bachelor of Commerce degree...

 and John Kerin
John Kerin
John Charles Kerin, AM is an Australian economist and former Australian Labor Party politician.-Career in politics:...

 for the job, eventually choosing Kerin, who proved to be unequal to the job.

Hawke's leadership was further damaged as a consequence of the new Liberal leader, Dr John Hewson
John Hewson
John Robert Hewson AM is an Australian economist, company director and a former politician. He was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1990 to 1994 and led the party to defeat at the 1993 federal election.-Early life:...

, releasing Fightback!
Fightback!
Fightback! was a radical economic policy package, 650 pages long, proposed by then Liberal Party leader John Hewson.-Key elements:The key elements of Fightback! were:...

, a detailed proposal for sweeping economic change, including a goods and services tax
Goods and Services Tax (Australia)
The GST is a broad sales tax of 10% on most goods and services transactions in Australia. It is a value added tax, not a sales tax, in that it is refunded to all parties in the chain of production other than the final consumer....

 and deep cuts to government spending and personal income tax, in November 1991. Hawke's response to this challenge was judged to be ineffective, and a rattled Labor Party turned to Keating. At a second challenge, on 20 December 1991, Keating defeated Hawke in a party-room ballot, 56 votes to 51. Hawke resigned from Parliament on 20 February 1992, sparking the 1992 Wills by-election
Wills by-election, 1992
A by-election for the Australian House of Representatives division of Wills was held on 11 April 1992. It was triggered by the resignation of sitting Labor Party member and former Prime Minister Bob Hawke....

, which was won by independent Phil Cleary
Phil Cleary
Philip Ronald Cleary is an Australian commentator on politics and sport, particularly Australian rules football, and a former independent politician elected at the 1992 Wills by-election.-Football playing career:...

 from a record field of 22 candidates.

Hawke apparently had few regrets, although his bitterness towards Keating surfaced in his memoirs. Hawke now claims to have buried his differences and considers Keating a friend.

In July 1990, Hawke had outstripped Malcolm Fraser to become Australia's second-longest serving Prime Minister. This record has since been overtaken by John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

. Hawke remains the Australian Labor Party's longest-serving Prime Minister.

It is also said by a former Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 staffer that UK Labour and Blair learnt from the Hawke government in the 1980s on how to govern when they took power in the UK.

Life after politics

After politics, Hawke entered the business world with considerable success. Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke, AO is the former wife of Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia 1983–91. They divorced after he left the prime ministership. She worked in social policy areas, and was an excellent amateur pianist and a patron of the arts...

, who for the sake of the Labor cause had put up with the open secret of his relationship with his biographer Blanche d'Alpuget
Blanche d'Alpuget
Josephine Blanche d'Alpuget is an Australian writer, and second wife of the longest-serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.-Biography:...

 while he was Prime Minister, divorced him, and shortly afterwards he married d'Alpuget. He had little to do with the Labor Party during Keating's leadership. In fact he often criticised the Keating Government publicly. After the election of the Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 Liberal government in 1996 he became a close supporter of Opposition Leader Kim Beazley
Kim Beazley
In the October 1998 election, Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934. However, due to the uneven nature of the swing, Labor came up eight seats short of making Beazley Prime Minister....

.

In the run up to the 2007 election, Hawke (at the age of 78) made a considerable personal effort to support the Australian Labor Party's campaign, making speeches at a large number of campaign office openings across Australia. As well as campaigning against WorkChoices
WorkChoices
The Workplace Relations Act 1996, as amended by the Workplace Relations Amendment Act 2005, popularly known as Work Choices, was a Legislative Act of the Australian Parliament that came into effect in March 2006 which involved many controversial amendments to the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the...

, Hawke also attacked John Howard's
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 record as Treasurer, stating "it was the judgement of every economist and international financial institution that it was the restructuring reforms undertaken by my government with the full cooperation of the trade union movement which created the strength of the Australian economy today".

In 2009, Hawke helped establish the Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia
University of South Australia
The University of South Australia is a public university in the Australian state of South Australia. It was formed in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology and Colleges of Advanced Education. It is the largest university in South Australia, with more than 36,000...

. Interfaith dialogue is an important issue for Hawke, who told the Adelaide Review
Adelaide Review
In its current form, The Adelaide Review is a free newspaper published approximately monthly in Adelaide, South Australia since mid 2009. In the period 2004-2007, it was usually published fortnightly....

that he is "convinced that one of the great potential dangers confronting the world is the lack of understanding in regard to the Muslim world. Fanatics have misrepresented what Islam is. They give a false impression of the essential nature of Islam."

Honours

Hawke was made a Companion of the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

 in 1979.

In late 2008, he was made Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, the highest Papua New Guinean honour available to non-Papua New Guinean citizens, entitling him to be referred to as "Chief". In a letter to Bob Hawke, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare
Michael Somare
Sir Michael Thomas Somare, GCL, GCMG, CH, CF, KStJ, MP was Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea from 2002 to 2011; he had previously been Prime Minister from independence in 1975 until 1980 and again from 1982 until 1985. Somare's first two terms were as a member of the Pangu Party, but he then...

 informed him that he was being honoured for his "support for Papua New Guinea [...] from the time you assisted in the development of our trade union movement, and basic workplace conditions, to the strong support you gave us during your term as Prime Minister of Australia".

In August 2009 Bob Hawke became just the third person to be awarded life membership of the Australian Labor Party.

Bob Hawke has received the following honours from academic institutions:
  • Honorary Fellow – University College, Oxford
    University College, Oxford
    .University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

  • Honorary Doctor of Letters – University of Western Australia
    University of Western Australia
    The University of Western Australia was established by an Act of the Western Australian Parliament in February 1911, and began teaching students for the first time in 1913. It is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia and the only university in the state to be a member of the...

  • Honorary Doctor of Civil Law – Oxford University
  • Honorary Doctor of Humanities – Rikkyo University
    Rikkyo University
    , also known as Saint Paul's University, is a private university, based on Christian precepts, in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. There is a suburban campus in Niiza in nearby Saitama.It is known for its liberal climate symbolized by the motto -History:...

  • other honorary doctoral degrees from Nanjing University
    Nanjing University
    Nanjing University , or Nanking University, is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in China...

    , Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

    , University of New South Wales
    University of New South Wales
    The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

    , and the University of South Australia
    University of South Australia
    The University of South Australia is a public university in the Australian state of South Australia. It was formed in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology and Colleges of Advanced Education. It is the largest university in South Australia, with more than 36,000...

  • The University of South Australia
    University of South Australia
    The University of South Australia is a public university in the Australian state of South Australia. It was formed in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology and Colleges of Advanced Education. It is the largest university in South Australia, with more than 36,000...

     named the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library in his honour.

Television film

A television film titled Hawke detailing his political career aired on the Ten Network
Network Ten
Network Ten , is one of Australia's three major commercial television networks. Owned-and-operated stations can be found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, while affiliates extend the network to cover most of the country...

 in Australia on 18 July 2010, with Richard Roxburgh
Richard Roxburgh
Richard Roxburgh is an Australian actor who has starred in many Australian films and has appeared in supporting roles in a number of Hollywood productions, usually as villains.-Early life:...

 playing the title character. Rachael Blake
Rachael Blake
Rachael Morelle Blake is an Australian actress.-Early life:Blake was born in Perth. At the age of 18 months, she moved to England with her British parents only to return to Perth at age 11....

 and Felix Williamson
Felix Williamson
-Career:He has had many roles in television, film and theatre and portrayed Paul Keating in the 2010 telemovie, Hawke opposite Richard Roxburgh's Bob Hawke....

 portrayed Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke, AO is the former wife of Bob Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia 1983–91. They divorced after he left the prime ministership. She worked in social policy areas, and was an excellent amateur pianist and a patron of the arts...

 and Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 respectively. Patrick Brammall starred as then Deputy Prime Minister Kim Beazley
Kim Beazley
In the October 1998 election, Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934. However, due to the uneven nature of the swing, Labor came up eight seats short of making Beazley Prime Minister....

.

See also

  • First Hawke Ministry
    First Hawke Ministry
    The First Hawke Ministry was the fifty-fifth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and held office from 11 March 1983 to 13 December 1984.Australian Labor Party-Cabinet:*Hon Bob Hawke, AC MP: Prime Minister...

  • Second Hawke Ministry
    Second Hawke Ministry
    The Second Hawke Ministry was the fifty-sixth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and held office from 13 December 1984 to 24 July 1987.Australian Labor Party-Cabinet:*Hon Bob Hawke, AC MP: Prime Minister...

  • Third Hawke Ministry
    Third Hawke Ministry
    The Third Hawke Ministry was the fifty-seventh Australian Commonwealth ministry, and held office from 24 July 1987 to 4 April 1990.Australian Labor Party-Cabinet:*Hon Bob Hawke, AC MP: Prime Minister...

  • Fourth Hawke Ministry
    Fourth Hawke Ministry
    The Fourth Hawke Ministry was the fifty-eighth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and held office from 4 April 1990 to 20 December 1991.Australian Labor Party-Cabinet:*Hon Bob Hawke, AC MP: Prime Minister...

  • The Accord
    The Accord
    The Prices and Incomes Accord was an agreement between the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Labor Party government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating. Employers were not party to the Accord. Unions agreed to restrict wage demands and the government...


External links

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