Bob Hawke obituary
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

AUSTRALIA FAREWELLS BOB

Former prime minister Bob Hawke passed away last night, aged 89. Superlatives immediately began pouring in for the giant of Australian politics. Scott Morrison called him Labor’s greatest prime minister, Bill Shorten named him the labour movement’s “greatest son”, while Julia Gillard said he was “the greatest peacetime leader Australia has ever had”. Tony Abbott, meanwhile, attracted criticism with a partisan statement claiming Hawke’s values were those of the Liberal party.

Susan Ryan, Hawke’s education minister and Labor’s first female minister, pointed to the progress he delivered for women, while his former press secretary Barrie Cassidy lauded the ferocity with which he abhorred racism. Hawke spent his final days pushing for a Labor victory, teaming up with former friend/foe Paul Keating to pen an op-ed as well as releasing his own open letter to Australians two days ago, urging them to elect Shorten.

THE END IS NEAR

Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison each had a busy Thursday ahead of Friday’s media blackout. Shorten attempted to channel Gough Whitlam by giving his final campaign speech at Bowman Hall, where Whitlam delivered his legendary “It’s Time” speech.

Morrison used his National Press Club address to say it’s not, actually, time — for Bill at least. “Let me tell you what it is really time for today. It is time to create 1.25 million new jobs,” he said. In the evening, the leaders were interviewed back-to-back by Leigh Sales on ABC’s 7.30, touching on China, mandates, faith, and fear.

The final Ipsos poll shows numbers have tightened, with Labor’s lead narrowing to 51-49, but Sportsbet is feeling extremely confident of a Shorten government, yesterday opting to pay out Labor backers early.

HERE COME THOSE CUTS

The Coalition has announced eleventh hour cuts to the public service totalling $1.5 billion, offsetting the government’s $1.4 billion in election promises and threatening up to 3000 jobs.

The Guardian reports that the cuts will come in the form of continued “efficiency dividends” for government agencies, with treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing that departmental chiefs will decide where cuts should be made. 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told reporters that the Coalition had been “very frugal” with its election commitments. Labor, meanwhile, intends to return $500 million to government agencies, hiring 1,200 more people in human services, while drastically reducing spending on contractors, consultants and travel.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.

Bob Hawke

The late prime minister’s impromptu public holiday declaration and most famous line, delivered after Australia defeated the US at the 1983 America’s Cup.

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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

After watergate, will Barnaby Joyce lose New England to an independent?

“A rural sustainability strategist and businessman, Adam Blakester, 48, is instantly recognisable with his shock of white hair. His hand is cold as he shakes mine — he’s been talking to voters pre-polling on the streets of Armidale, which saw a cold snap over the weekend.

At the Armidale Bowling Club over mugs of coffee, he says he always intended to enter politics, but this venture is 10 years earlier than planned. Due to what he describes as Joyce’s “litany of failures”, the time was ripe to mount a challenge.”


Having learnt from Labor, the Coalition goes hard on last-minute scares

“Labor and progressives can rail at these scare campaigns and denounce the lies they’re based on, but they’re no worse than Mediscare. Both sides routinely treat voters as mugs and lie to their faces. What Labor may rue is that it has chosen not to run with its own big scare campaign in the dying days of the campaign to shift undecideds in its direction.”


Can the bookies tell us who will be the next prime minister?

“You can sense the true believers starting to get skittish. Despite leading the Coalition on a two-party-preferred basis for most of the last three years, Labor’s lead in the opinion polls has narrowed. Bill Shorten has so far been unable to decisively pull ahead as the campaign enters its frenetic final days. But the betting markets could give the ALP hope.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Shorten’s united team will end years of instability Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The knifings of Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull have undermined faith in politics, damaged Australia’s international reputation and wasted time that should have been spent dealing with urgent problems such as climate change. The Herald believes that above all else voters must use this election as a chance to put an end to that cycle of instability and with that in mind there is no choice but to endorse Bill Shorten and the ALP.”

Nation needs stability now and growth for the future Editorial (The Australian): “Politicians antagonise voters when they promise in poetry and govern in helter-skelter. Mr Morrison’s plan errs on the side of being safe but deliverable; his policies, consistent with traditional values, do not unduly raise expectations as Mr Shorten has done. The Coalition offers prudent fiscal consolidation and debt reduction, a mechanism to reduce tax and control spending, a plan to ease cost-of-living pressures on families, modest and costed emissions cuts in line with global deals, successful border protection and a disciplined approach to our foreign relations. This newspaper recommends a vote for the Coalition because it has a better, more practical and affordable plan than Labor to address the nation’s future challenges.

Voting Labor on Saturday is best for the Northern Territory Editorial (NT News): “When Cyclone Marcus brought an Australian capital city to its knees in March last year, Bill Shorten jumped on the first plane he could to see the devastation across Darwin. Turnbull, who at the time was badly advised by his senior staff about the seriousness of the damage, didn’t even turn up. During the past three years, Shorten and his senior team have shown a far greater interest in the Territory’s future than Morrison and his Coalition colleagues.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • National Walk Safely to School Day, a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits of walking for kids, will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

  • Sue Ellson will launch her fourth book launch, Gigsters – Any Age or Ability Employees, Experts and Entrepreneurs.

Sydney

  • Shitbox Rally, the national charity event where teams of two race from Perth to Sydney in cars worth less than $1k to raise money for Cancer Council, comes to a finish.

  • The Property Council of Australia will host its Innovation & Excellence Awards Gala Dinner.

  • The Sydney Pregnancy Babies & Children’s Expo, the world’s longest running baby expo, will take place.

Darwin

  • NT Resources Minister Paul Kirby will speak at the Katherine Regional Resources Conference.

Tel Aviv

  • The second semi-final of the Eurovision annual song competition will take place in Tel Aviv. Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke competed in the first semi on Wednesday.

Canberra

  • The Australian War Memorial will launch its new exhibition “D-Day: the Australian Story”, exploring Australia’s involvement in the largest amphibious operation in military history.