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Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke, full name Robert James Lee Hawke (born December 9, 1929), was the twenty-third Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1983 - 1991.

Born in Bordertown[?], a small town in South Australia near the Victorian border, he moved to Perth and completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (economics). Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he went to Oxford University (University College) from 1953-55 and completed a Bachelor of Letters, but his academic achievements were probably outweighed by the notoriety he achieved as the holder of a world record for the fastest consumption of beer, drinking 2.5 pints of ale in 11 seconds. Whilst he never again attempted record drinking sprees, his fondness for more than the occasional ale was well-known and continued until gaining the Prime Ministership, during which he mostly gave up drinking (with some celebrated exceptions).

An Australian Labor Party member since 1947, Hawke began working for the Australian Council of Trade Unions[?] as a researcher in 1958, and began his steady climb up Labor ranks. His ambition, self-belief and larrikin nature were already obvious - John Button[?], Industry Minister in the Hawke Labor government, recalls Hawke holding court in the bar of a dingy pub that served as a Labor and union hangout, and, deadpan, offering him the post of Attorney-General in a future Hawke government.

As one of the longest-serving Australian Prime Ministers, Hawke oversaw a substantial set of policy changes. Among other things, the Hawke Government floated the dollar, deregulated the financial system, overhauled the tariff system, privatised state sector industries, and sold off the national bank.

Other points to include in article:

  • Marriage to Hazel, well-known affairs, divorced Hazel, married Blanche.
  • difficulties with his children.
  • Time as ACTU president and Mr Fixit.
  • Transfer to Parliament, knifing Hayden.
  • Early Prime Ministership - achievements, huge popularity, the America's Cup win.
  • Introduction of many market-oriented policies (though possibly wasn't the driving force there).
  • Relationship with Paul Keating and the eventual political downfall.
  • Post-politics - making large amounts of cash.

Previous Australian Prime Minister: Malcolm Fraser
Next Australian Prime Minister: Paul Keating



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