Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has died aged 89.
I regard Hawke as one of Australia’s best Prime Ministers, arguably their greatest Labor Prime Minister.
He served as Prime Minister for almost nine years, forced out of office effectively by Paul Keating in 1991. He won four elections in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990.
Hawke established APEC, floated the Australian dollar, deregulated their financial sector, abolished tariffs, sold off state owned companies, reformed the tax system and generally transformed the Australian economy. Today’s NZ Labour Party would probably regard Hawke as a neoliberal traitor.
His election majorities were significant. They were:
- 1983: 75 – 50
- 1984: 82 – 66
- 1987: 86 – 62
- 1990: 78 – 69
Hawke had very high approval ratings, reaching 75% approval in November 1984 – a record for any Australian PM.
Bob Hawke and John Howard are probably the two most consequential Australian Prime Ministers of the last 50 years. Hawke’s reforms made Australia a far better place.