17 May 2019

SCG Chairman pays tribute to Bob Hawke

The Australian flag flew at half-mast on top of the SCG’s Members Pavilion following the death of Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, Bob Hawke who died at the age of 89 yesterday.  

Mr Hawke had a deep love of cricket and was a regular at the New Year’s Test. SCG Chairman Tony Shepherd paid tribute to Mr Hawke today.

“Bob was a fixture at the SCG every summer, we loved to see him here almost as much as he loved coming to the New Year’s Test," Shepherd said.
 
“While he often watched from suites, Bob remained one of the people and a huge cheer would go up whenever he appeared on the SCG big screen.
 
“He was the best of Australians. Every other politician, leader or otherwise, will be judged against his achievements as our 23rd Prime Minister. 
 
“We are a better nation, better world citizens and better people for Bob Hawke’s leadership, vision and service.
 
“On behalf of the 19,000 members of the SCG, I recognise his contribution to our country and record our condolences to his family.
 
“We have lost a great Australian and a great friend of the Sydney Cricket Ground.”

Mr Hawke was born in South Australia but moved to Western Australia as a child. He attended the University of Western Australia and then went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Mr Hawke joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 1956, as a research officer. Having risen to become responsible for wage arbitration, he was elected ACTU President in 1969, where he achieved a high public profile.

After a decade serving in that role, Mr Hawke announced his intention to enter politics, and was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives as the Labor MP for Wills. Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent his condolences to the family of a man who "will be greatly missed".

"Bob Hawke was a great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and an intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger,” Morrison said.

Mr Hawke led the country and his party from 1983 to 1991, known as much for his larrikinism as he was his policies that helped modernise post-war Australia.

His achievements as Prime Minister included modernising the economy and integrating it into the global community, establishing Medicare, and championing environmental issues.

He announced "Advance Australia Fair" as the official national anthem, initiated superannuation pension schemes for all workers and oversaw passage of the Australia Act that removed all remaining jurisdiction by the United Kingdom from Australia.

Mr Hawke won four federal elections, making him Labor’s longest-serving Prime Minister and Australia's third-longest-serving Prime Minister behind Robert Menzies and John Howard.

Bob Hawke at the SCG

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