Bob Hawke: Labor mourns the passing of its 'greatest son'


Labor figures have paid tribute to former prime minister Bob Hawke.

The Labor Party is in mourning following the death of its "greatest son", former prime minister Bob Hawke on Thursday.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said Mr Hawke's legacy will live forever in an Australia he brought together.

"Tonight the nation and Labor are in mourning. We have lost a favourite son," Mr Shorten said in Sydney.

"Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke," Mr Shorten said.

"But his legacy will endure forever. Bob Hawke changed Australia for the better," he said.

"He brought people together, he brought Australia together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment."

Mr Shorten said he last saw Mr Hawke at his Sydney home last week.

"He had the sun on his face, a crossword in front of him, a cup of tea. He didn't speak about himself to me. He did, as he always does, asked about the ALP and the election," Mr Shorten said.

"We all loved Bob Hawke. We'll miss him a great deal. May he rest in peace."

Keating reacts

Australia is much poorer for the death of the former prime minister, says his one-time treasurer and successor Paul Keating.

Together, Mr Hawke and Mr Keating transformed Australia's economy, negotiating an accord with unions to reduce strikes and restrain wages, floating the dollar and deregulating the financial system.

Former prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke
Former prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke

The pair also overhauled the tax system, slashing tariffs and introducing enterprise bargaining.

Mr Keating on Thursday evening issued a statement describing the legacy of his partnership with Mr Hawke as "the monumental foundations of modern Australia".

"With Bob Hawke's passing today, the great partnership I enjoyed with him passes too. A partnership we forged with the Australian people," Mr Keating said.

"But what remains and what will endure from that partnership are the monumental foundations of modern Australia.

Keating and Hawke share a laugh.
Keating and Hawke share a laugh.

"In what was our last collaboration, Bob and I were delighted to support Bill Shorten last week in recounting the rationale we employed in opening Australia to the world.

"Bob, of course, was hoping for a Labor victory this weekend. His friends too, were hoping he would see this.

"Bob possessed a moral framework for his important public life, both representing the workers of Australia and more broadly, the country at large.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has died aged 89.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke has died aged 89.

"He understood that imagination was central to policy-making and never lacked the courage to do what had to be done to turn that imagination into reality."

While other Labor personalities shared their thoughts on social media.

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