AUSTRALIAN STORY remembers Bob Hawke

Australian Story
Source: ABC


Please note this is a programming change.

Australian Story celebrates the extraordinary life and career of Bob Hawke, Australia’s most popular prime minister, who died last week aged 89.

This intimate portrait features extensive archive, including rare photos from the family’s private collection, and revealing interviews with Hawke, his biographer and second wife Blanche D’Alpuget, his three children, long-time friend Col Cunningham and former colleagues including Gareth Evans, Kim Beazley, Ralph Willis, Craig Emerson and Bill Kelty.

A reflective Hawke recalls the formative experiences of his childhood, including the tragic death of his older brother Neil at 19 and his own near death in a motorbike accident while at university.

Driven by a burning desire to make the most of his life he went from union lawyer to head of the ACTU before entering politics. But his drinking was becoming an issue. “The public were starting to cotton on that this was a man that for all his good sides had this very dark side and was a lot of the time out of control,” Blanche D’Alpuget tells Australian Story.

Bob Hawke gave up drinking and in 1983 he became prime minister. He went on to win three more elections, becoming Labor’s longest-serving prime minister and overseeing profound economic and social reform. Eventually Hawke’s fruitful relationship with treasurer Paul Keating soured and he lost the leadership of the party, bringing to an end a stellar career.

Bob Hawke’s family opens up about the impact of his political career on their family life. They also speak candidly about the rift caused by Bob’s decision to leave his first wife Hazel and marry D’Alpuget and how in recent years that rift has healed.

Hawke approached his final years content with his life and proud of his achievements. “I’m quite conscious of my mortality,” he told Australian Story, “but I don’t think about death and I’m not frightened of death.”

Australian Story – Monday, May 20 at 8pm