Vale Bob Hawke, a visionary, a larrikin and a formidable leader

Vale Bob Hawke: A visionary, a larrikin and a formidable leader

Just 48 hours before the 2019 federal election, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away peacefully surrounded by his friends and family. He was 89.

Serving as Australia’s leader from 1983-1991, Hawke was responsible for a number of major reforms including the complete introduction of Medicare and opening up Australia’s economy to the world. Crucially, Hawke also carried out a number of legislative changes which transformed the rights of women in Australia.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 was enforced to protect women from maternity leave discrimination, and workplace sexual harassment. He and his cabinet also implemented specific protection policies for Indigenous women, migrant women and women with disability.

Hawke was a leader beloved by Australians not because of his politics and pandering but because of his conviction.

His wife of 24 years and Hawke’s great love, Blanche d’Alpuget sat down with ABC reporter Leigh Sales last year for an interview about the life she shared with Australia’s larrikin leader.

“A day wouldn’t go past where we don’t say to each other at least once a day “I love you” and we always are kissing each other and embarrassing my son, kissing during dinner,” d’Alpuget responded when asked whether their relationship still took work.

When probed about whether this dynamic had changed in all the years they’d been together, d’Alpuget responded: “It’s mellowed, and it has become sweeter. So it really is like a late picked wine.”

At the end of the interview, Sales asks d’Alpuget about her feelings on death and how she’d cope when Hawke (who’d been in poor health) was no longer around.

Through tears d’Alpuget responds: “With difficulty, Leigh, with difficulty. Oh, dear,”

Sales: “Oh sorry, I’m sorry.”

d’Alpuget: “It’s alright. He’s my best friend.”

Tributes have flown in for Bob Hawke overnight, with Australians paying tribute to a formidable leader and friend. Vale.






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