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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 August 2019) . . Page.. 2565 ..

Thursday, 1 August 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

The Hon Robert Hawke AC

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep sorrow at the death of the Honourable Robert James Lee Hawke AC.

It is really hard to know where to begin when it comes to talking about the life and legacy of Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, the Hon Robert James Lee Hawke. Few Australians can be said to have made such a significant contribution or left such a resounding and lasting impact on our national identity, our national psyche and of course our national economy as Bob Hawke.

His achievements and contributions in public office are numerous; his political acumen unmatched in his lifetime; his commitment to Labor beliefs and values unwavering; and his personality larger than life. He was a man of the people and, importantly, a man for the people. He was loved by his country, by his party and by his movement. He was the personification of our values and our aspirations and he truly was a legend in his own lifetime.

Much has been said about Bob’s legacy since his passing on 16 May. He was, as we know, a great reformer. He oversaw some of the most significant economic reforms in Australia’s history, including the floating of the Australian dollar, the opening of our economy to global trade and competition and the creation of the prices and incomes accord to combat stagflation in the early 1980s.

He was also a strong advocate for an inclusive economy that worked to benefit all Australians, regardless of their background. He introduced Medicare, legislated to introduce Australia’s compulsory superannuation system, reformed family allowances to provide better support for low income and single-parent households and introduced the Sex Discrimination Act to outlaw sex discrimination in the workplace.

In the international arena, Bob never deviated from his complete rejection of injustice and always advocated for fairness and equality for all people. He was one of the great advocates for ending apartheid in South Africa and utterly rejected racism in all its forms through his entire life. And who can forget his emotional speech, part unfettered rage, part deep sorrow, after the Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989 and his subsequent offer of asylum to Chinese students in Australia!

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