We pay tribute tonight to the former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke. The 23rd Prime Minister and Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991, he is the longest-serving Labor Party Prime Minister to have lived.We honour him for his large contributions to the Australian public, both during his time as Prime Minister as well as in his many other positions including as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. He is credited with bringing in reforms that modernised Australia’s economy, establishing Medicare and deepening Australia’s engagement with Asia. In 2012 he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the government of Japan for his work to improve Australia's relationship with Japan in politics as well as after his retirement. Bob Hawke established a scholarship for Japanese high school students to visit Australia after his time in office.
'Hawkie' as he was affectionately known, was hugely respected and one of Australia’s most loved PMs. His passing is a great loss to the Australian public who he cared so deeply about and we will continue to remember his incredible contributions and the legacy that he has left behind. Vale Bob Hawke, a truly great Australian.