Hawke stubs out political headache for Lib

Mathias Cormann says Bob Hawke's shared penchant for a cigar got him out of a tight spot in 2015. (AAP)

Liberal Party heavyweight Mathias Cormann has revealed Bob Hawke's shared penchant for a cigar got him out of a tight spot in 2015.

Labor legend Bob Hawke's penchant for a cigar once sent a senior Liberal's political dilemma up in smoke.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was famously pictured with then treasurer Joe Hockey chomping cigars at parliament as they finalised the 2014 budget.

The photo was seen as symbolic of an unpopular budget that came under heavy fire with the Abbott government criticised for cutting services and breaking promises.

In March 2015, Senator Cormann found himself at a function having a cup of tea with Sir Peter Cosgrove and Mr Hawke.

The then governor-general produced three cigars, leaving Senator Cormann in a tricky spot as he weighed the political consequences of another smoky snap.

Mr Hawke - well known for enjoying a cigar - had no such hesitation.

"As I was thinking about the mobile phones with cameras on the other side of the window and what I should be doing, the other two cigars disappeared in Bob's pocket," Senator Cormann said on Wednesday.

"The political dilemma was averted for which I'm eternally grateful."

Senators have paused to pay tribute to Mr Hawke on Wednesday, sharing heartfelt condolences to the former Labor prime minister who died in May.

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