Bob Hawke

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Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL (born 9 December 1929) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia and longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister.

After a decade as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, he entered politics at the 1980 federal election and became Prime Minister within three years. He became by far the longest-serving and most electorally successful Labor Prime Minister, achieving the rare feat of winning four consecutive federal elections after coming to power at the 1983 federal election. He is Australia's third longest-serving Prime Minister.


Early life and education

Hawke was born in Bordertown, a small town in South Australia near the Victorian border. His father Clem was a Congregationalist minister; his uncle, Albert Hawke, was Labor Premier of Western Australia between 1953 and 1959 and was a close friend of Labor Prime Minister John Curtin, who was in many ways Bob Hawke's role model. While attending the 1952 World Christian Youth Conference, held in Kottayam in southern India, Hawke was struck by "this enormous sense of irrelevance of religion to the needs of the people" and abandoned his Christian beliefs.[1] By the time he entered politics he was a self-described agnostic.[2]

Hawke was raised in Perth and attended Perth Modern School and completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (Economics) at the University of Western Australia. At age 15, he boasted that he would one day become Prime Minister of Australia.[3] He joined the Labor Party in 1947, and successfully applied for a Rhodes Scholarship at the end of 1952.[4][5] In 1953, Hawke went to the University of Oxford to commence a Bachelor of Arts at University College.[6] He soon found he was covering much the same ground as his Bachelor's degree from Perth, and switched to a Bachelor of Letters, with a thesis on wage-fixing in Australia.[7] The thesis was successfully presented in January 1956.[8]

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