‘A bloke who loved his country’

The Parliament paid tribute to former Prime Minister the Hon Robert James Lee Hawke AC. 

Jul 9, 2019

The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, noted that Mr Hawke was ‘the first Prime Minister to speak at this despatch box in this chamber in this magnificent parliament building [and] also the last Prime Minister to do so at the despatch box in the House of Representatives chamber in the old Parliament House down the hill. In so many ways, not just in that physical way, he took our country from the old to the new.’ He added, ‘In honour of the life and service of Bob Hawke I am pleased to announce today that the government will provide $5 million to the existing endowment fund of the General Sir John Monash Foundation to create an annual scholarship known as the Bob Hawke John Monash Scholar.’

The Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, remembered Mr Hawke’s many achievements: ‘APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation]; the floating of the dollar, putting Australia in a position to benefit from global economic engagement; the Sex Discrimination Act; the affirmative action act; the return of Uluru, the physical heart of the nation, to its traditional owners; universal superannuation; Landcare; Medicare. When they were elected to office, three in every 10 Australians finished high school. When that period of government ended, the figure was eight out of 10—a revolution in opportunity for young Australians.’

A number of other MPs and senators spoke on the condolence motions in the House of Representatives and the Senate.