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Bob Hawke: Australia’s former PM dies at 89

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Former Australian prime minister and Labor Party leader Bob Hawke, who dominated the country’s politics in the 1980s, has died at the age of 89.

The charismatic politician, renowned for his love of beer and cricket, served from 1983 to 1991 and is credited with modernising the economy.

He was the centre-left Labor Party’s longest-serving PM, who achieved the highest approval ratings of any PM.

His wife said in a statement that he died “peacefully at home”.

Hawke joined the Labor Party at 18 in 1947 and would go on to win a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford in 1953.

He later joined the trade union movement, rising to become president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions by 1969.

He first won a seat in parliament in 1980 and became Labor leader in 1983. He and Labor won a general election by a landslide soon after.

Hawke was known for his maverick style and will be remembered as Australia’s “larrikin” leader – the prime minister who loved a drink and joke, and made the serious work of politics look like fun.

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