World

Bob Hawke, Australia's longest serving Labour PM dies at 89

ANI | May 16, 2019 06:04 PM
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke (File photo)

Canberra [Australia], May 16 (ANI): Bob Hawke, one of Australia's longest-serving prime ministers and a champion of the trade union movement, died on Thursday at the age of 89.

CNN cited a statement released by Hawke's widow Blanche D'Alpuget, describing the late 23rd Prime Minister of Australia as "the greatest Australian of the post-war era."

Known affectionately as "Hawkie," he served as the Prime Minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991, winning four elections and becoming the country's third longest-serving leader.

"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," the statement read.

According to the Museum of Australian Democracy, Hawke, being a Rhodes Scholar from the Oxford University in 1956, quickly rose through the ranks of Australia's trade union movement to become the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1970.

In 1983, with only three years of experience of serving in the Parliament, Hawke became the Prime Minister and served the country for almost nine years.

Hawke is also remembered as one of the major economic reformers in his country who with his then-treasurer Paul Keating liberalised the Australian economy, floating the Australian dollar and brought in universal healthcare for all citizens, CNN reported.

In a statement, opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten said that "the Australian people loved Bob Hawke because they knew Bob loved them."

"In Australian history, in Australian politics, there will always be B.H. and A.H: Before Hawke and After Hawke. After Hawke, we were a different country. A kinder, better, bigger and bolder country," the statement said.

In addition, Prime Minister Scott Morison extended his condolences to Hawke's family saying, "My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Bob's widow Blanche and his family. May he Rest In Peace."

He said Hawke "had a unique ability to speak to all Australians and will be greatly missed."

"Bob Hawke was a great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger," Morrison tweeted.

"He was true to his beliefs in the Labor tradition and defined the politics of his generation and beyond," he added. (ANI)

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