Leadership | Diversity | Inclusion

Vale Bob Hawke

CEDA has lost a friend and supporter with the passing of former Prime Minister and CEDA governor, the Hon. Robert Hawke AC on 16 May.

CEDA Chief Executive Officer, Melinda Cilento said Mr Hawke championed big thinking and developing a vision for Australia. 

“Bob Hawke was a great conciliator who could work across sectors and with the community to find points of agreement to use as building blocks for transformational change,” Ms Cilento said. 

“This approach is one that CEDA is committed to emulating.” 

Mr Hawke was a generous supporter of CEDA, both while Prime Minister and following his retirement from politics. 

As serving Prime Minister Mr Hawke addressed CEDA events on 10 occasions, delivering speeches across the country in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. 

As a recently-elected Prime Minister in October 1983, Mr Hawke presented his new government’s economic agenda to a CEDA dinner, the first of regular appearances at CEDA events during his prime ministership that included the keynote address to CEDA’s 1985 Silver Jubilee dinner

Mr Hawke’s last appearance on the CEDA stage was in 2013 when he spoke at the West Australian launch of CEDA’s publication, Setting public policy.

“Mr Hawke’s relationship with CEDA was so important to us because his approach epitomised CEDA’s own values,” Ms Cilento said. 

“We believe in bringing people together to share ideas and build a consensus on the best way forward for Australia, as Mr Hawke demonstrated throughout his political career.” 

Mr Hawke maintained a close association with CEDA after retiring from politics. He was a member of CEDA’s Board of Governors, an advisory board comprised of eminent Australians. 

“On behalf of CEDA I extend our condolences to Mr Hawke’s family on his passing,” Ms Cilento said. 

The Hon. Robert Hawke AC was Prime Minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991.

After graduating from the University of Western Australia, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. On returning to Australia, he joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and was ACTU President from 1970 to 1980.

Mr Hawke was elected to Federal Parliament in 1980 and became Prime Minister in 1983. He resigned from Parliament in February 1992, having been Australia's longest-serving Labor Prime Minister.