Woodford remembers legacy of Bob Hawke

 

OPPOSITION leader Anthony Albanese has taken a swipe at morality politics and leaders preaching to people how they should live their lives.

He made the remarks as he delivered an address in memory of Bob Hawke at the Woodford Folk Festival Tuesday afternoon.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke speaking at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2017. Picture: AAP/Claudia Baxter
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke speaking at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2017. Picture: AAP/Claudia Baxter

He praised the former Labor PM, who was an annual attendee at the festival until his final years, as a leader who governed for all Australians without seeking to divide them.

"If ever there was a man who could appeal to our better angels without being an angel himself, it was Bob," Mr Albanese said.

"You didn't have to agree with Bob for him to respect you as one of his fellow Australians.

"As Bob put it himself: 'Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don't exude morality'.

"We think of him as … a world record beer drinker who switched off his thirst while he was leader. A cheeky man, not large physically, who grew into one of our true giants.

"A man who was Australia amplified."


At Woodford's 2018 festival, an 89-year-old Mr Hawke indicated he did not expect to see another.

Mr Hawke was a regular attendee and was usually designated time on stage to talk about anything from politics to nuclear power, and has been known to belt out a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

This year Mr Albanese was asked to address "the Hawke Legacy" the Woodford, which has also been attended by the former PM's wife Blanche d'Alpuget.

Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget at Woodford folk festival in 2014. Picture: Megan Slade
Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget at Woodford folk festival in 2014. Picture: Megan Slade

Mr Albanese said Mr Hawke was "totally connected to his people" and praised achievements from his government like floating the dollar, universal superannuation and Medicare.

"He understood that it's not enough for Labor to just talk about how we want to distribute wealth, but also how we will create wealth," he said.

Mr Hawke's stand against South Africa's apartheid regime was also honoured in the address.

"When the dog whistle of racism was blown, Bob responded with thunder," Mr Albanese said.

"In South Africa's case that thunder took the form of weaponised economic policy.

"Bob drove that agenda on the global stage."



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