Vale Bob Hawke
Robert “Bob” James Lee Hawke AC GCL (1929 - 2019)

I can’t say that I have ever been brought to tears by the death of a political figure. When the news broke this week that Bob Hawke had died, that statement still stood, however as I then went on to read his obituaries, and learned more about this great Aussie larrikin / man of the people / longest serving Labour Prime Minister, as I learned more about what he fought for and his life’s achievements, I’ll admit that I did shed a tear for his loss.

To adapt a Doctor Who terminology, being a child of the late 70’s, Bob Hawke was “my” Prime Minister - the first Prime Minister that I was consciously aware of, who I used to see on the telly on a regular basis, and talked about at home and school. He was there for my formative years, though in my household his name would not likely have been mentioned favourably - my father, the son of a farmer, was a member of the local Country Liberal Party.

Hawke’s standout political policy, as is being remembered now and long known to most Australians, was Medicare. As I have just read - before Medicare, a trip to the hospital was the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country - much as is still the case in today’s America. So Bob, I raise a glass to you for this long lasting and socially changing policy, because I cannot imagine Australia being the country it is today without our universal health system.

I can still remember the day, the moment in time, of learning that Paul Keating had ousted Hawke from the top job - a sense of shock that someone apparently so close to him could wield that knife to the back. (Yes - we later learned of Bob’s reneged deal to pass the crown to Keating - but it was still a monumental moment for this 14 year old; little could I have imagined the state of affairs to follow a decade+ later!) Although I enjoyed Keating’s political antics, he was no man of the people, no Bob Hawke.

Probably the hardest thing to read in Bob’s obits was the full extent of his relationship with his second wife. His “Camilla”. The knowledge that he was astute enough not to divorce his first wife to be with the woman he loved due to the damage it could inflict upon his chances in politics… yet how hollow that must have made his personal life - for such a long time. I’m not judging the man on this - we all have to live with the choices we make, and none of us are perfect.

I never studied politics in school; I’m no rogue scholar in policies domestic or otherwise, and I’m sure there were bad calls amongst the good, but to me Bob remains and will always be one of Australia’s best.

Rest in Peace, you Silver Bodgie.


Before Medicare, there was Medibank as devised by the Whitlam mob. I dont know how it was elsewhere but NOBODY went untreated if they didnt have private insurance at the hospital where i worked. There was one anaesthetist who would only treat private patients but the rest of the doctors worked pro bono if a person had no financial resources, and the hospital didnt charge them either. Of course This was when hospitals were appropriately funded, via the lotteries. Lots changed in the years after 1972, not all of it was necessarily good. (and yes, I tend to be a Labor/Greens supporter)

Rest in piece Bob!

He had his flaws but he did so much good for Australia and unlike anyone in the current government had a vision for Australia.

Whitlam introduced the basis for Medicare as Medibank, then Fraser hosed it right down. Hawke reversed these changes and renamed it to Medicare, which I am grateful for.


@kyte - Just going on the ABC :slight_smile:

According to this govt document, in 1980 absence of health insurance was a major reason for bankruptcy.;query=Id:"publications/tabledpapers/HPP032016002256";src1=sm1

After Medicare, health related reasons were removed from the list of reasons that caused bankruptcy. I imagine it can still be a factor, but not as common.

And certainly Medibank predated Medicare, but Medicare trumped it.

I remember. I was there. So to speak.

Bingo. I didnt much like Medibank/Medicare. It put my private insurance out of reach because as soon as it was implemented, the private companies increased prices (bear in mind that this was before there was any movement away from them, to Medibank). My own was around $7/qtr and it jumped to $15/m within a couple of months and just kept going up from there. But, there it was. a scare campaign that worked beautifully. We now have medicare which is half baked and which in the early days was savagely rorted by a few doctors, it doesnt cover everything, and is not a replacement for private insurance which I can’t afford at all. I might be able to afford hospital cover but why would I bother, since thats what Medicare covers anyway. Its a shambles and has been since Fraser stuffed it.

Its better than nothing.

Looks like Australia has voted to further trash the legacy of Hawke.

What a sad night.


The economy is in tatters.

The environment is in tatters.

The government is as corrupt as they come.

But hey ho! “My franking credits”.

I have never been as depressed with an election result as I am tonight. An utter disgrace to the nation and our future.


I’m so overly depressed.

The Liberals didn’t even have a proper policy platform besides getting elected.

This was an election where self interest has reigned supreme.

What ever happened to any care for the greater good, the future beyond getting elected.

The ALP aren’t perfect but they are a million miles better than the government in almost every area.


But… jobs in Queensland… They will soon enough find that they have been conned by Scammo.

The problem was always going to be Bill Shorten. He was never popular. The issue was they couldn’t change leaders, especially running with the platform “watch the rotating clowns on the other side!” They were backed into a corner and lost.

I think we also need to look at the overall picture. I suspect News Corp were involved in some tricky tactics, 2-3 days out they pretty much declared a labor victory, even sports bet paid out for a labor win. Did that mean people went to the ballot box thinking “well if labor has won why bother voting for them.” The vote was up for the minor parties. Sure the argument could be made that a lot of people are over the labor and liberal parties, but by News Corp pushing people to vote for the minor parties that pretty much assured an LNP victory.

Obviously QLD was the deciding factor and short term gain (aka jobs) is more important to them. I will find it funny if the jobs are filled by offshore workers, which I think could be a possibility.

Although I’m annoyed labor didn’t win, I can honestly say between the very small win and hopefully a tough senate, the LNP shouldn’t do too much damage. Just a pity labor will be left to fix the budget (because LNP will fail to do it) and the climate, which will be much harder now…

I will never get this.

Shorten vs Turnbull I can understand why people would see Turnbull as a better leader.

But this is the same public who elected Abbott and now Morrison. Both should realistically be unpopular. But anyway.


Yeah I don’t see Scott Morrison as likeable, but Shorten was hard to warm to for some people. I think they always felt like he was hiding something. Plus a lot of people saw him as a union thug. I don’t get why people are afraid of the unions who tend to control labor yet are fine with businessmen who control the LNP.

Not much makes sense sometimes. As I said I think News Corp and Clive Palmer have a lot to do with this result.


It’s the same reason that they believe that the LNP are “better economic managers”. It’s been drilled into them by the Murdoch media, and they all believe it.

It’s to do with both Menzies and Howard having governed through economic booms. Howard lucked out on the mining resources boom, then squandered our money into tax cuts/concessions for business/concessions for miners, but put the scraps into a surplus and for whatever reason, dim witted Australians don’t understand how poor this is economically.

Menzies as well presided over the ‘long boom’ of the 50s and 60s…

The moment that economic conditions aren’t great (eg now and also perhaps Fraser’s time), the Liberals falter, but still somehow convince the public they’re doing well.

Whitlam came to power and then everything fell apart. If he had gotten in, in '69 it would have been a different story. Hawke came into a stuffed economy post Fraser. Rudd came into power and then the GFC hit.

The ALP usually even manage to do well even in dire circumstances. Hawke modernised the economy, Rudd and then Gillard got us through the GFC and then Gillard managed to govern effecting, passing record legislation in a minatory government.

Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison have managed to send us backwards in pretty much every single way, yet the public still reward them.


The problem here is that they blame labor and people buy it. Ironically and as you’ve pointed out it’s normally left for Labor to fix and because they invest money back into things to save the economy, it’s again easier for the LNP to blame labor. They spent money it must be labor’s fault!

The problem still comes back to the casual voter, they don’t scratch the surface of issues and often whoever spoke to them last “told the truth” - or the truth they care to remember. Most people listen to news Corp and it was hard to get away from Palmer this election.

Media wins.

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People seem to inherently trust and see the Liberals as the default.

I was shocked how high the Australian United Party (Palmer) & One Nation vote was on one level, but given how I couldn’t escape Palmer’s adverts…

And yeah - I don’t get what people find trustworthy or redeeming about a businessperson like Palmer…

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Palmer was our federal member in my electorate (yes, ours was the electorate that gave him his platform a couple of elections ago). He was utterly incompetent, did absolutely nothing for us, hardly attended parliament and was only in it for himself.

People have very, very short memories.


The problem I had with Shorten was that I did not think he ever sounded sincere when he was giving speeches… they sounded completely fake. He only sounded “real” when he was in informal situations. I don’t think he was a leader. Of the three contenders who want to step into his shoes now… I see Tanya Plibersek as having leadership material… Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen… not sure about either of them. But I doubt that Tanya will get the numbers.