Australian government on course for election defeat

Australian government on course for election defeat

Australian government on course for election defeat

Within months of Hawke becoming prime minister, Australia won sailing's America's Cup in 1983, ending 132 years of US dominance over the oldest trophy in world sport.

Australians are heading to the polls to select their next parliament and prime minister, in what has been widely referred to as the climate-change election.

Labor leader Bill Shorten goes into today's elections having led in the polls and with the blessing of his political hero, writes Rod McGuirk.

While others may have struggled to dismiss a reputation for boisterous, if well-meaning, behaviour, silver-haired Mr Hawke said it helped him win favour with working-class voters. "All Australians could connect with Bob Hawke", Morrison said.

They urged voters to see Saturday's ballot as essentially a fight between Mr Morrison's aspirations and Shorten's reforms.

"Bob was generous in his last remarks to me, and he said we were doing really well and he was very proud of me", Shorten told Nine Network television.

Mr Robert James Lee Hawke was born on Dec 9, 1929, in Bordertown in South Australia, the younger of two sons. By the time he entered politics, Hawke had abandoned his religious upbringing and declared himself agnostic.

His lifelong involvement with the labor movement began in 1958, when he joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions, first as a researcher and later as a union advocate. Negotiations over labor disputes were as likely to take place at the bar over copious beers as before the courts.

But he is also lauded by many for making radical market reforms, including floating the Australian dollar.

In 1980, Hawke publicly swore off alcohol and was elected to Parliament, immediately taking up a high-profile role as the opposition's spokesman for industrial relations, employment and youth.

Except, that is, for his tradition in his final years of chugging a beer on camera at sporting events to raucous cheers.

At the worldwide level, Hawke, along with then-French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, introduced a proposal that was adopted as the Madrid protocol, which unambiguously banned mining in Antarctica. During his 1976 visit, he was hosted by Israel's government and had a forest named for him, according to Australia's national archives.

"Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era", his wife and former biographer Blanche dAlpuget said in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, center, meets with a family saving for their first home in Cairns, Australia Friday, May 17, 2019.

This time around the campaign has been fierce, but it has produced few surprises - even an attempt to egg the prime minister didn't reveal any cracks.

Australians embraced Hawke as a larrikin, an Aussie term for someone considered endearingly mischievous. In the conservatives' six years in office, Liberal lawmakers have dumped two prime ministers and now have a third who has never faced an election as party leader. The charismatic leader was also able to use his trade union experience to form a consensus between unions and employers.

He went on to win elections in 1984, 1987 and 1990.

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