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.