Supporting the independent education community

Tribute to Bob Hawke


“That the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch June Council recognises the passing, on 16 May 2019, of The Honourable Robert James Lee Hawke AC. The Council recognises the stature of Bob Hawke in Australian’s political and economic history including the trade union movement; the charismatic gifts he possessed; his relentless intention to achieve fairness and prosperity for all of Australia’s citizens; and his modelling of a zest for life.


“In the ten years from 1969 that Bob Hawke was the ACTU president, he brought the ACTU to a new level of prominence and effectiveness. He was a fierce advocate for the working person and a skilled negotiator. He also encouraged trade union involvement in international issues. This very importantly included his role in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa where the introduction of trade and sporting sanctions contributed to the demise of the apartheid there.


“From 1983 to 1991 Bob Hawke was Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister. With his cabinet, which included Paul Keating as Treasurer, he set about modernising Australia’s economy and society. Changes to the wage fixing system and the introduction of the Prices and Incomes Accord helped workers to achieve better incomes and conditions, achieved trust with employers and helped increase productivity while keeping check upon inflation. The floating of the Australian dollar, dismantling of tariffs and the deregulation of the banking system enabled Australia’s continuing prosperity and more effective interaction with other nations, including countries in Asia, our geographic region.


“Hawke’s government introduced the Sex Discrimination Act, compulsory superannuation and the Family Assistance Scheme as well as promoting the value of Australia’s environment and its protection. Actions included the stopping of the damming of the Franklin River in Tasmania and uranium mining at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory as well as trying to have Australia act on climate change in 1990. Change in Australia also included the changing of the national anthem from God Save the Queen to Advance Australia Fair. Hawke’s famous lines ‘No child will be left in poverty’ and his pledge to have a scheme to plant a billion trees both underscore his profound concern for the people and the land.


“The Hawke government’s interest in the rights and welfare of the First Australians is illustrated by Hawke’s unfulfilled desire in 1988 to sign a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and also shown in the amendment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to return Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to the Anangu people. Bob Hawke’s biggest achievement in government is considered to be the introduction of Medicare, the universal publically funded health care scheme which more practically enabled the original Medibank plan introduced by the Whitlam government.


“Bob Hawke always believed that education was vital for all Australians so that each could achieve a prosperous, creative and happy life, and so that our nation could progress. In his retirement one of his pursuits was to serve as chairman of the committee of experts of Education International, a global voice of the teaching profession. Our Council is grateful for his contributions in this important area which serves the needs of members of education unions and the educational needs of children.”


Moved: Patricia Murnane       Seconded: John Quessy

Unanimously endorsed by IEUA NSW/ACT Council 15 June 2019