1983 Federal Election: Triumphant Hawke Arrives At National Tally Room And Claims Victory

Bob Hawke arrived at the National Tally Room in Canberra on election night – March 5, 1983 – to applause and adulation.

These two videos show how Hawke’s arrival was shown by ABC television and Channel 10: [Read more…]

Malcolm Fraser Concedes Defeat In 1983 Federal Election

After nearly 7 years and 4 months as Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser conceded defeat late on the night of March 5, 1983.

He was at that stage Australia’s second longest serving prime minister. He would lose that position to the man who defeated him, Bob Hawke. In turn, Hawke was eventually overtaken by John Howard.

Fraser accepted responsibility for the timing of the double dissolution election and the defeat of the government. He immediately resigned as leader of the Liberal Party. He subsequently resigned from his Victorian electorate of Wannon and never sat in the House of Representatives again. [Read more…]

Prime Minister-elect Bob Hawke’s Election Night Press Conference

Before Bob Hawke made a triumphant appearance in the National Tally Room on election night – March 5, 1983 – he first held a sober press conference in which he made clear how he intended to govern.

Decades later, Hawke’s first remarks as Prime Minister-elect are instructive. He made it clear that he did not intend to repeat Gough Whitlam’s two-man government of December 1972. Reassurance, calm and steadiness are the hallmarks of his comments. Hawke’s determination to prove that Labor could govern responsibly was never more clear than in this press conference. [Read more…]

Bob Hawke’s 1983 Federal Election Policy Speech

Bob Hawke formally launched his election policy speech on Ash Wednesday, February 16, 1983.

The news that day was dominated by coverage of the bushfires sweeping across South Australia and Victoria. Hawke and Fraser briefly suspended their campaigns in the aftermath of the destruction and loss of life.

Hawke had been leader of the ALP for just 13 days when he delivered the policy speech. The ALP easily won the March 5 election, ending Malcolm Fraser’s 7 years as prime minister.

The policy speech details much of the program that was to be enacted by the Hawke government over subsequent years, including the Prices and Incomes Accord, the Economic Summit, Medicare, pension increases and electoral reform.

Listen to Hawke’s policy speech (30m)

Watch Channel 9’s report of the speech (6m):

Watch the ABC’s report of the speech:

Text of Bob Hawke’s 1983 ALP Election Policy Speech.

And the first pledge I now make, a commitment which embraces every other undertaking, is that everything we do as a Government will have the one great goal – to reunite this great community of ours, to bring out the best we are truly capable of, together, as a nation, and bring Australia together to win our way through the crisis into which the policies of the past and the men of the past have plunged our country.

For the facts are there – stark and grim – for every Australian to see. Seven years of Fraserism have produced:

The highest number of Australians thrown out of work in our history; and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression fifty years ago. [Read more…]