The death of former Australian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Bob Hawke on Thursday was especially poignant just before the country’s national elections, which are set for Saturday.
Bob Hawke, who dominated the country’s politics in the 1980s, has died at the age of 89. He was the center-left Labor Party’s longest-serving prime minister, and he also achieved the highest approval ratings of any leader.
In a statement, the Greek Community of Melbourne expressed its mourning over the loss of a great Australian visionary and strong advocate for social justice and multiculturalism.
“Initially through his leadership of the ACTU in the 1970s, he developed close ties with Australians of ethnic background and clearly understood the need to engage with them and encourage their active involvement in the Australian narrative and way of life, be that in their workplace or in the community institutions which they served,” the statement reads.
“He will be remembered for many great achievements and defining moments. His role in ending apartheid in South Africa, his efforts to demolish the gender pay gap and the launch of Medicare in 1984 as Australia’s first affordable universal healthcare system are just some of those.
The statement continues, saying “The Greek community is especially proud of the fact that Bob Hawke attended and opened the inaugural Antipodes Festival in 1988. He maintained a close friendship not only with the leaders of our organization but with many Greek Australians of all walks of life.”