11 November 2019

Bill Kelty_2072V2 (002).jpgWhen former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died in May this year, just a week before a shock Liberal win at the federal election, there was something of Hawke’s unfinished business in the air. His desire to find a way for Labor to win elections, not just every now and then, but regularly, was well known.

As Hawke’s long-term colleague and friend Bill Kelty AC will reveal at this year’s Annual Hawke Lecture, Bob was still talking about a response to climate change, the importance of a treaty with Australia’s first people, and finding that formula for ALP election success, right up to the last.

Kelty says he intends to share stories that will give some insight into Hawke’s character, but he really wants to focus on the way the Hawke and Keating delivered some cornerstone policies and services that make Australia a better place today, and the fact that Hawke believed there was much more to achieve.

“Bob was a leader, a larrikin and a hero,” Kelty says.

“But what made him successful was his commitment to some key things – fair wages, an international outlook, reform, competitiveness and acting with compassion.”

Kelty says in the 71 years since he was born, the Labor Party has only been in government for 22 years and 13 of those were the Hawke Keating era.

Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 1983 to 2000, Kelty was in daily contact with Bob Hawke when he was Prime Minister as the Prices and Incomes Accord was negotiated.

The National Accord remained in place for the entire period of the Hawke Government, delivering significant social reforms, improvements in employment and the fastest economic growth in the OECD.

“In just 13 years Hawke and Keating recast Australia and delivered some key reforms such as Medicare and superannuation, that have made it a fairer society,” Kelty says.

“But I know, Bob wanted to do more and to see more achieved.

“He was rightly concerned about climate change and how we would tackle it.

“He had some pretty strong views on how the ALP should be planning to win elections.

“And right to the end he was talking about a treaty with Australia’s First People and I know he believed that given the opportunity, Australians would put up their hand to support one.”

A premier event for The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, Bill Kelty will deliver the 22nd Annual Hawke lecture at the Adelaide Town Hall on Wednesday November 13 from 6 pm.

Registration for this free event can be made online.

Established in the tradition of US Presidential Centres and libraries and named in honour of Bob Hawke, one of the 20th century’s most notable prime ministers (1983–91), The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre was established by Memorandum of Understanding in December 1997 with a plan establish an active public engagement program, a research institute and a library in purpose-built facilities.

Today the Centre delivers a diverse program of events and exhibitions throughout the year which reflect themes around strengthening democracy, valuing diversity and building a sustainable future 

Media contact; Michèle Nardelli phone: +61 418 823 673 or +61 8 8302 0966 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au




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