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Bob Hawke At The National Press Club: 1983 Federal Election

The ALP Leader of the Opposition, Bob Hawke, appeared at the National Press Club on March 2, 1983, just three days before he won the Federal election.

It has long been an election tradition in Australia that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition address the Press Club and take questions from journalists in the final week of an election campaign.

In retrospect, Hawke’s appearance is very interesting. He was at ease. There is an easy humour to his demeanour and responses. His rapport with the media is obvious. There is an expectation that he will win the election. Many of the issues raised are similar to those that arise in every election.

What seems remarkable three decades later is that the Channel 10 evening news devoted 15 minutes to reporting Hawke’s appearance in detail. It is impossible to imagine that happening now.

  • Listen to the Channel 10 report (15m)
  • Watch the report:

Malcolm Fraser’s 1983 Federal Election Policy Speech

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser delivered his policy speech for the 1983 Federal Election at the Malvern Town Hall on February 15, 1983.

Fraser was in his seventh year as prime minister. He had called an early double dissolution on February 3, the same day that the ALP replaced Bill Hayden as its leader with Bob Hawke.

Ten days after this speech, Fraser became Australia’s second longest-serving prime minister. He would subsequently lose this position to Bob Hawke, who would in turn lose it to John Howard.

The speech took place one day before the Ash Wednesday bushfires which swept through South Australia and Victoria. Fraser briefly suspended his campaign because of the bushfire disaster.

  • Listen to Fraser’s policy speech:

Text of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s 1983 Election Policy Speech.

Australians have never had a clearer choice than at this election. It is the Liberal Party that is preserving and building a free society. It is the Liberal Party that is working to fulfil the hopes of all Australians. It is the Liberal Party alone that can keep building for the future. We govern for all Australians whether their families have lived here for generations or only a few years. We encourage all Australians to contribute their best to the best nation on earth. [Read more…]