Biographical entry: Hawke, Robert James Lee (1929 - )

Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL)

9 December 1929
Bordertown, South Australia, Australia
Politician and Prime Minister
Alternative Names
  • Hawke, Bob


Bob Hawke was leader of the Australian Labor Party of Australia from 1983 to 1991, and served as the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia between March 1983 and December 1991.

Hawke led the Labor party to four consecutive federal election wins (in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990) before losing the party leadership, and the Prime Ministership, in the second leadership challenge mounted by Paul Keating.


Prior to entering Parliament, Hawke spent a decade as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). In 1956, Hawke had accepted a scholarship to undertake doctoral studies in the area of arbitration law in the Law department of the Australian National University, Canberra. In 1957, he was recommended to ACTU President Albert Monk as a research officer. The recommendation was made by Hawke's mentor at ANU, H.P. Brown, who for a number of years had assisted the ACTU in national wage cases. Hawke decided to abandon his doctoral studies and accept the offer.

Not long after Hawke began work at the ACTU, he became responsible for the presentation of its annual case for higher wages to the national wages tribunal, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. He was first appointed as an ACTU advocate in 1959. His success in the role of advocate was such that, in 1969, he was encouraged to run for ACTU President, and won, despite the fact that he had never held elected office in any trade union.

In 1973 Hawke was elected Federal President of the Labor Party. In 1980 he was elected to the Parliament of Australia as the federal member for the electorate of Wills in Melbourne.

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