“His legacy will endure forever”: Australians pay tribute to former PM Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke is being remembered as the greatest Labor Prime Minister Australia has ever had.

The country is mourning the death of the Labor legend, who passed away peacefully on the Thursday aged 89.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the labour movement has lost its greatest son.


“Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke. But his legacy will endure forever,” Mr Shorten said.

“He brought people together, he brought Australia together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment.”

Current Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed his contribution to public life, his passion and courage.

“But it was his ability to connect with everyday Australians – with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke.”

Former Prime Ministers have also joined the chorus of tributes.

Paul Keating, who toppled Hawke in 1991 and only recently mended their relationship, says Australia is much poorer for his death.

“With Bob Hawke’s passing today, the great partnership I enjoyed with him passes too. A partnership we forged with the Australian people,” Mr Keating said in a statement.

“But what remains and what will endure from that partnership are the monumental foundations of modern Australia.”

John Howard, a long-time political foe of Hawke saw he was undoubtedly a “very fine Prime Minister”.

“He was the best prime minister of the labour movement in Australia’s history. I would rank him at the top of the list as far as Labor prime ministers were
concerned,” Mr Howard told the ABC.

Julia Gillard described him as the greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had.

Malcolm Turnbull said Australia is a better place because of him, describing him as a great Australian, Labor leader and reforming Prime Minister.

World leaders have also paid their respects with former US President Bill Clinton tweeting that he always liked and admired Bob Hawke for his progressive record and great sense of humour.

Related: Bob Hawke: Farewell to a Prime Minister