Labor slated for narrow election win in Australia, polls suggest

The NT News 

Hawke was Australia's third longest-serving prime minister and the longest-serving Labor prime minister.

Hawke won support from the political left to float the Australian dollar, remove controls on foreign exchange and interest rates and lower tariffs on imports within months of his inauguration.

Australia's former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke has died suddenly aged 89 on the eve of a closely contested general election.

After describing Hawke as "Labor's greatest Prime Minister", Abbott tried to steal some of Hawke's glory by claiming some of the Labor icon's greatest achievements for the Liberal party, and taking a shot at Bill Shorten in the process.

"Bob was generous in his last remarks to me, and he said we were doing really well and he was very proud of me", Shorten told Nine Network television.

While Mr Hawke won the 1983 election convincingly, the following year, he suffered the devastating blow of learning that one of his daughters was a heroin addict, giving a tearful press conference in which he said prime ministers were still husbands and fathers. After scoring several high-profile wins before the Arbitration Commission, Hawke rose through the ranks of the ACTU and was elected its president in 1969.

While polls show most Australians support stronger action to tackle climate change, Morrison's coalition strongly supports the coal industry.

Famous for his bouffant hair and cheeky sense of humor, Hawke reportedly held the world record for skolling a yard of beer in the quickest time when he was a student at Oxford.

This time around the campaign has been fierce, but it has produced few surprises - even an attempt to egg the prime minister didn't reveal any cracks. A January 2012 video of a then-82-year-old Hawke chugging a beer at a cricket match as cheering and laughing fans shouted, "One for the country, Robert!" exceeds a million hits on YouTube. Australia is a better place because of him.

"There is absolutely no question that people are hugely frustrated by the revolving door of prime ministers", Wood, of the Grattan Institute, said.

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

He came to power preaching consensus and, through his intimate knowledge of both the trade union and business communities, was able to forge a wage accord that helped to minimize industrial disputes.

Hawke broke a 1984 campaign promise and called early elections again in 1987, after the Senate twice rejected a government proposal to introduce a national identity card, which Labor said was necessary to crack down on tax evaders and welfare cheats. He was ousted by his own party during a recession in 1991.

"The entire union movement grieves for the passing of Bob Hawke". Hawke resigned from the Parliament in 1992 and retired from politics.

Hawke led the celebrations, famously declaring on television: "Any boss that sacks a worker for not turning up 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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