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Hawke, Robert (Australia)

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Introduction

Robert James Lee (known as Bob) Hawke was leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Prime Minister of Australia, 1983–91. After many years as a trade union official, his conciliatory skills, down-to-earth manner and economic success made him a popular prime minister. Despite a generally weak global economy in the mid-1980s, he led the ALP to a record four consecutive election victories.

Early Life

Hawke was born on 9 Dec. 1929 in Bordertown in South Australia to Clement, a Congregational minister, and Ellie Lee, a teacher. Hawke’s uncle, Albert, who became premier of Western Australia, was a formative influence on his nephew. Hawke graduated in Law and Economics from the University of Western Australia and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University between 1953–55. During this time he also took the world record, 12 s, for the speediest drinking of a yard of ale. In 1956 he married Hazel Masterson, with whom he had three children. Having joined the ALP in 1947, he was...

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