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AustraliaNow is the time to ask: What would Australia have been without Hawke?

18:55  17 may  2019
18:55  17 may  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

Labor's golden boy who transformed a nation

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Perhaps now we should ask ourselves what Australia would be like if we had never had Bob Hawke as our prime minister. Such an Australia is to me Bob Hawke jokes with Susan Ryan at a press conference in 1987. Credit:David James Bartho. I have been asked for my recollections of Hawke as

In 1989, then- Australian prime minister Bob Hawke surprised everyone by offering asylum to Chinese students in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. "My son was very small at the time , he didn't know much, but for me, the loss was huge. ' Without Bob Hawke , I wouldn't have been born'.

Now is the time to ask: What would Australia have been without Hawke?© David James Bartho Bob Hawke jokes with Susan Ryan at a press conference in 1987.

The giant tree has fallen. Now that it has happened, the massive outpouring of love, appreciation, and respect for this great Australian prime minister is almost overwhelming. Perhaps now we should ask ourselves what Australia would be like if we had never had Bob Hawke as our prime minister.

Such an Australia is to me unthinkable. Can anyone conceive of an Australian economy that since the 1980s had remained closed to the world, with the consequent failure to provide jobs or business growth?

I can’t imagine an Australia that never got to experience a decade and more of productive cooperation between business and workers, and between the government and organised labour. I can’t imagine where we would be if the great Australian workforce had been not adapted to the demands of the 21st century and the global economy.

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It was met with universal acclaim and in August of the same year transferred to Broadway. Since then the show has exploded in popularity, winning In March of 2016 Lin Manuel Miranda was interviewed by British actress Emma Watson who played the role of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films.

The most notable features are the great forest near the frontier with Germany and Luxembourg and In particular, young people often use mobiles to ask their parents if they can come home later. E. Lifelong learning does not mean spending all my time reading. It is equally important to get the habit

Now is the time to ask: What would Australia have been without Hawke?© David James Susan Ryan and Bob Hawke in 1984.

I would never want to see an Australian landscape where the Franklin River in Tasmania was dammed and lost, or where national parks were few and far between, or where oil exploration had destroyed the Antarctic.

Now is the time to ask: What would Australia have been without Hawke?
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I think of the terrible fate of poverty and despair that would have been the lot of a generation of school children who left school before completion, to face nothing but the dole. We lifted the participation of students to year 12 from the scandalous low of just one third in 1983, to two thirds after two terms of Hawke.

How would we be without Medicare? The Hawke government, especially Neal Blewett, rebuilt it so that it provided and continues to provide all Australians with the best and most accessible standards of care in the world.

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Without Bob Hawke as our leader, when would Australian women have got laws that stopped employers sacking them just because they were women, or mothers, or pregnant.

Many more women would have been terribly damaged from domestic violence without our Hawke-funded refuges and legal services.

Our great economic relationship with China, developed to a high point by Hawke, is the foundation of our current prosperity. Without the Hawke government when would we have got our first woman High Court judge, or our first Indigenous head of the department of Aboriginal Affairs. This list could continue.

But Australians were lucky. We got all that and more. Hawke brought dedication, intelligence, and a superb capacity to design major reforms, and, even more importantly, see them to fruition. At the same time because he enjoyed life so enormously, loved his family, his mates, his sport and just about everyone he met, Australians loved and admired him more than any leader before or since.

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I have been asked for my recollections of Hawke as leader, and in particular as my leader, as his only female cabinet member. In brief, the opportunity to serve in his cabinet as education minister and his minster assisting on the status of women was the high point of my working life. I am still astounded that such a wonderful opportunity came my way.

Hawke’s strengths as leader of his team started with his own discipline. From our very first cabinet meeting he was always fully prepared, so we needed to prepare properly too. Led by Bob in this way, our processes were orderly, collegiate and effective.

We did have robust disagreements, aka fights, but these were managed. Hawke had an amazing capacity to keep things going until all was resolved and decisions agreed. Sometimes that meant sitting into the early hours of the next day, and Hawke often forgot that some of us, unlike him, needed to eat. There were frequent outbreaks of jokes and good humour, usually sparked by Mick Young on whom Hawke could always rely to settle things down when they became a bit agitated.

Tough as nails 7.30 host Leigh Sales chokes back tears as news of Bob Hawke’s death comes through in the middle of her show

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Yes, Bob Hawke liked women, a lot. It is on the public record that some of his behaviour hurt his marriage to Hazel, and his family. But liking women was no obstacle to his recognising and pursuing wage justice for women and other workplace rights often denied. Nor did it stop his government from funding new and significant family support payments and services for women in danger.

Through the master stroke of the Accord, the agreement he negotiated with the ACTU led by the genius Bill Kelty, our government managed to keep a turbulent economy on track, make necessary savings in public spending, and provide well targeted health, education and community initiatives to workers and their families. Superannuation for all workers, instead of just senior males was developed.

When Hawke declaimed at the 1987 campaign launch “by 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty” cynics ridiculed such an idealistic promise. He may have compressed his words a little, but in those words he expressed his heartfelt determination that all children, especially the vulnerable ones, should benefit from everything the Hawke government economic reforms delivered.

Bob’s heart was huge. All our children had a place in it, just as all women and men were included in his ambitions for a better Australia. Solidarity forever was not just Bob’s favourite song. He meant it and made it real.

Susan Ryan was the first woman to serve in a federal Labor cabinet. She served as minister for education and youth affairs and minister assisting the prime minister for the status of women in the first Hawke government.

Bob Hawke's life in pictures:

Now is the time to ask: What would Australia have been without Hawke?
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Former prime minister Bob Hawke did not vote in the federal election before his death last week at the age of 89, his wife Blanche d'Alpuget has revealed. "He decided he wasn't going to postal vote. He was going to go up in his wheelchair and vote, but he didn't get there," Ms d'Alpuget tells 7.30 in her first interview since Mr Hawke's death. Given the result of the election, she said it was "probably a good thing that he died when he did". Asked if Mr Hawke knew how much the public loved him, Ms d'Alpuget said: "I think he probably did, but he never spoke about it. "I think he did.

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