Australia's Longest Serving Labor PM Bob Hawke Dies At 89

Australia's Longest Serving Labor PM Bob Hawke Dies At 89

His eight years in office make him the longest-serving Labor prime minister in Australia.

This is despite the same measures showing that Mr Shorten trails Mr Morrison as preferred prime minister.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, has paid tribute to the former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke who died at the age of 89.

Robert James Lee Hawke was born in the agricultural community of Bordertown, South Australia, to a Congregationalist minister father.

"This will be the closest election we've seen in many, many years", Prime Minister Scott Morrison predicted while campaigning in north Queensland, home to a swathe of marginal seats that could decide the outcome.

His lifelong involvement with the labor movement began in 1958, when he joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions, first as a researcher and later as a union advocate. 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.

"This feat was to endear me to some of my fellow Australians more than anything else I ever achieved", Hawke wrote of the 1955 stunt in his autobiography.

Hawke earned his reputation as a larrikin in part due to his setting of a world record for drinking a "yard" (1.4 litres) of beer in 11 seconds while at Oxford University.

Except, that is, for his tradition in his final years of chugging a beer on camera at sporting events to raucous cheers.

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Australian elections always take place on Saturdays.

The country has had six changes of prime minister over the past 12 years - mostly the result of internal party fights.

At the global level, Hawke, along with then-French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, introduced a proposal that was adopted as the Madrid protocol, which unambiguously banned mining in Antarctica.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called him "a great Australian", adding that he had "a unique ability to speak to all Australians and will be greatly missed".

Mr Shorten ditched an election eve plan to campaign through Queensland on Friday, instead visiting the late prime minister Mr Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget in Sydney. The charismatic leader was also able to use his trade union experience to form a consensus between unions and employers.

An Ipsos poll for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers shows Australia's Labor ahead of Morrison's coalition government by a margin of 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis where votes are distributed until a victor is declared.

But as Australia plunged into recession, Hawke's enormous popularity began to wane and his rule as prime minister finally ended on December 20, 1991, when he was ousted by his own party.

The Hawke government also supported the national Landcare movement, the concept of grassroots communities supporting sustainable development policies and repairing the natural environments in which they are based. Hawke resigned from the Parliament in 1992 and retired from politics.

He cried publicly a number of times - most famously in 1989 at a memorial service at Parliament House following the crackdown on Chinese students at Beijing's Tiananmen square.

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