'We have lost a favourite son': Bill Shorten pays tribute to Hawke
Labor leader Bill Shorten has paid tribute to Australia’s “favourite son” Bob Hawke, who has died aged 89.
Mr Shorten said he only saw the former Prime Minister last week during a visit to his home, where Hawke was “doing the crossword” and asking about the election.
“Tonight the nation and Labor are in mourning,” Mr Shorten said tonight on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.
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“We have lost a favourite son. Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke. But his legacy will endure forever. Bob Hawke changed Australia for the better.
“He brought people together, he brought Australia together, he modernised our economy, he transformed our society, he protected our environment.
“I last had the privilege of seeing Bob last week. On his back verandah, sitting out there with his beloved Blanche, supported by Craig.
“He had the sun on his face, a crossword in front of him, a cup of tea. He didn't speak about himself to me. He did, as he always does, asked about the ALP and the election.
“We all loved Bob Hawke. We'll miss him a great deal. May he rest in peace.
“The condolences of my party and my movement to the great Bob Hawke.”
In a statement earlier, Mr Shorten said Australian people “loved Bob Hawke because they knew Bob loved them.”
"We will remember and revisit the images we know so well: Bob with microphone or megaphone in one hand, the other moving in time with his words, rallying, inspiring and delighting a crowd.
"Bob with head cocked, one hand grasping his earlobe, listening respectfully to an Aboriginal elder, a captain of industry, laughing with an American President or charming a local parent out doing their shopping.
"Maybe in the stands, eyes fixed on the track, creased and folded form guide in hand, ticking off another winner.
"Or in that iconic jacket, mouth open with laughter, dodging the beer and champagne, giving his Prime Ministerial blessing to a national sickie.
"Those images will always be with us, the words to accompany them will pour in from across the country and around the world.
"But the most powerful and enduring tributes to Bob Hawke are not words or pictures, they are found all around us.
"World-class universities, where places are earned on merit not purchased by privilege."
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