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Former Australian PM Bob Hawke dies at 89

IANS  |  Canberra 

Bob Hawke, one of Australia's longest-serving Prime Ministers and a former Party icon, died on Thursday at the age of 89 -- just two days before the May 18

Known affectionately as "Hawkie," Hawke was known for his maverick style and will be remembered as Australia's "larrikin" - the who loved a drink and joke and made the serious work of look like fun.

He was Australia's from 1983 to 1991, winning four elections and becoming the country's third longest-serving after and

His achievements as included modernizing the economy and integrating it into the global community, establishing and championing environmental issues. Hawke achieved the highest approval ratings of any

"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian - many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era," Hawke's wife said in a statement.

"Bob was dearly loved by his family and so many friends and colleagues. We will miss him. The golden bowl is broken."

Hawke joined the Party at the age of 18 in 1947 and later won a Rhodes Scholarship to the in 1953.

He later joined the trade union movement, rising to become of the of Trade Unions by 1969.

Hawke first won a seat in Parliament in 1980 and became leader in 1983. He and Labour won a by a landslide soon after.

He had set a world record for drinking a yard of beer in 11 seconds while at Oxford University, and he would still perform his party trick of downing a glass of beer at cricket matches well into his late 80s.

During eight years in power, he introduced pension and welfare reform at home, while improving trade links abroad. He was known for his concern for Australia's vulnerable, once declaring that he wanted to create a country where there were "no second-class Australians".

He was also lauded for making radical market reforms, including floating the Australian dollar.

Prime Minister called him "a great Australian", adding that he had "a unique ability to speak to all Australians and will be greatly missed".

Australian described him as a "great man who never lost his humility". Hawke is survived by his wife D'Alpuget and his three children - Susan, Stephen and Rosslyn.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 16 2019. 20:04 IST