Bob Hawke Memorial Service

14 Jun 2019
Sydney, NSW
Prime Minister

PRIME MINISTER: Australians all let us rejoice for the life of Robert James Lee Hawke.

AC, father, husband, son, friend, grandfather, colleague, passionate Australian, the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Blanche and the Hawke family for their generous invitation to take part in today's memorial service. Jenny and I thank you.

Unlike those who will follow me today, and although we did meet on a few occasions, I only knew Bob from a distance.

But in that way, I can reflect and share with you the common remembrance and speak of the affection he inspired from millions of Australians who only knew him in this way.

So today, I come to speak on behalf of a nation Bob Hawke loved and that deeply loved him in return.

It was a great romance, played out in the shopping centres with journalists tripping over cables, sporting ovals, grandstands, schools, town halls, beaches, parks, outback stations and, of course, Indigenous communities all around the country.

It was a passionate and affectionate relationship between Bob and the Australian people.

They knew each other well.

They forgave each other’s shortcomings.

They understood each other’s virtues.

There was trust, there was faith in each other.

There was also sorrows born and joys shared, great passions, and disappointments.

Destiny was always Bob Hawke's friend, but it was never a passive or easy relationship.

He never hid himself from us.

He let us see all of his complexity - all of it - and that's what Australians loved about him.

Our 23rd Prime Minister was a proud and faithful son of the Labor movement, and he became one of the proud fathers of our modern Australia.

Today, we will rightly honour his many achievements for our economy, for our security, for Indigenous Australians, for our society, and Australia's place in the world.

And as a Liberal, I'm honoured to acknowledge these achievements, as I know others would be.

On many occasions - admittedly not all - our party was pleased to partner in many of the changes Bob was able to bring about. But he led them and that will be forever to his credit and his Government.

The 80s in Australia will always be the Hawke era, and it is a rich legacy for Australians.

But grand accomplishments are not the worth or measure of a human being.

Rather, a life is measured by its love - love given, and love returned.

As Australians - all as he coined the phrase, forever in our national anthem as we've sung - we thank Bob Hawke for loving Australia and loving Australians with every fibre of his being, with every measure of his enormous enthusiasm, with every meed of his great intellect, with every laugh, every tribute, every tear and every moment of his great devotion.

Bob Hawke loved our country and we are a better nation for it.

In his passing, we honour and give thanks for a great Australian patriot.

On behalf of Australia, I extend to his widow Blanche and his family our deepest sympathies as a nation, as well as our thanks for sharing him with our country and caring for him until the very end.

We also remember the legacy of the late Hazel Hawke, and we thank all of Bob's family for the sacrifices they made as Bob pursued his public service in service to us all.

So Bob, your record is honoured, your legacy is secure and your country will be forever grateful.

May he rest in peace.