Paul Keating Launches Cabinet Diaries By Gareth Evans With Another Swipe At Bob Hawke

Paul Keating has renewed his attack on Bob Hawke during a speech at the launch of the Cabinet diaries of Gareth Evans.

Keating

Whilst Evans says in his book that Hawke was out of action for about a month in 1984 over his daughter’s drug addiction problems, Keating claimed that Hawke was “asleep” for about five years until 1989. Keating said Hawke failed to “nourish” the government with ideas and leadership.

Keating said Hawke failed to take a lead on Aboriginal land rights in this time: “Bob always cried for Aborigines but he wouldn’t do anything for them.” [Read more...]


Paul Keating Turns 70

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating turns 70 today.

Keating was 25 when he entered the House of Representatives as the Labor member for Blaxland in October 1969. He was 47 when he became Australia’s 24th prime minister in December 1991. He remained PM until March 1996 when he was defeated by John Howard’s coalition.

Keating

Keating’s first ministerial appointment came in the dying days of the Whitlam government. Following the sacking of Minerals and Energy minister Rex Connor, Keating became Minister for Northern Australia on October 21, 1975, serving for three weeks until the government was dismissed by the Governor-General on November 11. He is the youngest of the eleven surviving ministers of the Whitlam governments. [Read more...]


1986-87 Hawke Government Cabinet Papers Released

Cabinet Papers from the Hawke government’s second and third terms of 1986-87 have been released by the National Archives.

Hawke Cabinet

Former Senator Gareth Evans, a Cabinet minister of the time, described the Hawke government, then in its fourth and fifth years, as a “government pretty much at the top of its form”.

Evans was Minister for Resources and Energy in the second Hawke government until 1987 and Minister for Transport and Communications after the government’s re-election for a third term on July 11, 1987. Now Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Australian National University, Evans spoke at the release of the Cabinet Papers and took questions from journalists.

Dr. Jim Stokes, National Archives historical consultant, presented a paper on the background to the political events of 1986-87. The full text and audio appears below.

  • National Archives – 1986 and 1987 Cabinet Papers
  • Listen to introductions from Len Marsden and Senator George Brandis at the Cabinet Papers release (8m)

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Text of remarks by Gareth Evans at the National Archives release of the 1986-87 Cabinet Papers.

Evans

  • Listen to Gareth Evans (21m)

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  • Listen to Gareth Evans respond to questions (26m)

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Thank you very much Len Marsden – and especially to Jim Stokes for a terrifically professional career: every best wish for the future after a fabulous contribution to this enterprise for so long. [Read more...]


At America’s Cup 30th Anniversary, Bob Hawke Tells A Joke

Today is the 30th anniversary of Australia’s victory over the United States in the America’s Cup yacht race.

Bob Hawke had been prime minister for six months when Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, defeated Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. Australia II was designed by Ben Lexcen with a revolutionary and controversial ‘winged keel’. Representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Australia II was funded by businessman Alan Bond.

Australia II’s victory was the first time in 132 years that the Americans had been defeated.

Even though few Australians knew much about the race, it captured the public imagination at the time. On the day of victory, Bob Hawke appeared on morning television wearing a specially made jacket. His appearance is remembered for his declaration: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.”

  • Watch Hawke’s 1983 America’s Cup appearance:

At an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary today, Bob Hawke appeared with Bertrand and Bond and told a joke that he said captures the “irreverence” of Australians:

  • Watch Bob Hawke’s 2013 joke:

Medicare 30th Anniversary

Medicare is 30 years old today.

MedicareThe legislation to establish the universal health insurance system was passed on this day in 1983, six months after the election of the Hawke Labor government.

As it still still does today, Medicare is partly funded by a 1.5% levy on all taxpayers. It allows doctors to provide medical care at no cost to patients through bulk billing. Alternatively, Medicare reimburses patients 85% of a scheduled fee which allows doctors to determine their own charges with patients paying the balance. Medicare also provides for basic public hospital cover with patients able to take out additional private insurance. Health professionals with a Medicare provider number are also included in the scheme.

Medicare’s history begins with Gough Whitlam in the 1970s. The health insurance scheme was developed by health economist Richard Scotton and John Deeble. Under Whitlam, the scheme was called Medibank and was a major plank in Whitlam’s 1972 election platform. [Read more...]