Australian Prime Minister on course for election defeat

Evarado Alatorre
May 18, 2019

He had a down-to-earth attitude, a passion for sports and legendary status among beer lovers for once drinking himself into the record books. "Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Hawke "had a unique ability to speak to all Australians and will be greatly missed".

Australians are heading to the polls to select their next parliament and prime minister, in what has been widely referred to as the climate-change election.

While others may have struggled to dismiss a reputation for boisterous, if well-meaning, behaviour, silver-haired Mr Hawke said it helped him win favour with working-class voters. "Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke", Shorten said.

Labor went on to win its first federal election victory since 1946 and Whitlam became a reforming prime minister.

Mr Robert James Lee Hawke was born on Dec 9, 1929, in Bordertown in South Australia, the younger of two sons.

Hawke was riding high in opinion polls by the mid-1980s and won re-election in 1987 despite an economic downturn.

To many, he was a quintessential Australian "larrikin" - a beloved rogue.

Except, that is, for his tradition in his final years of chugging a beer on camera at sporting events to raucous cheers. Both parties have changed their rules to make dumping a prime minister between elections more hard.

Hawke was extremely aware of the need for change and better regulation to protect the Australian environment.

Hawke divorced his wife of almost 40 years, Hazel Masterson, after leaving politics and public life and married his biographer, Blanche d'Alpuget.

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"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era", his wife and former biographer Blanche dAlpuget said in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who only took over the Liberal leadership from Malcolm Turnbull in August, hit four marginal seats in one day in a last-ditch attempt to shore up votes.

The country has had six changes of prime minister over the past 12 years - mostly the result of internal party fights. The charismatic leader was also able to use his trade union experience to form a consensus between unions and employers.

On the back of his success, Hawke called an early election and was again swept to power in 1984.

The 51-year-old, however, faced a hard last few hours of campaigning, with the death of legendary Labor prime minister Bob Hawke. He was narrowly elected to a fourth term in 1990. He was ousted by his own party during a recession in 1991. Hawke resigned from the Parliament in 1992 and retired from politics.

"The entire union movement grieves for the passing of Bob Hawke". In 1983, he oversaw the floating of Australia's currency and later set in motion the sale of several state-run industries - including airlines, banks and telecommunications companies - and curbed government subsidies to underperforming sectors.

From negotiating with Frank Sinatra to ensure the crooner's 1974 Sydney concerts went ahead to shedding tears over bloodshed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Mr Hawke was a huge presence on Australia's political landscape.

When an Australian yacht won the America's Cup in September 1983, Hawke famously declared, "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum".

D'Alpuge said she will hold a private funeral with his children Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson, Louis, and his grandchildren.

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