Friday Flash Poll: Who was your favourite prime minister?

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Bill Shorten described Bob Hawke as ‘Labor’s greatest son’ and political leaders from here and around the world have sent condolences and high praise of Bob Hawke both for his time as leader and as a great man.




Tony Abbott said about Bob Hawke “He had a Labor heart, but a Liberal head” for which he has copped a flak in the press and from other politicians.


Bob Hawke will go down as one of Australia’s favourite prime ministers, but was he one of the best? Political veteran Laurie Oakes seems to think so.


Bob Hawke gave us Medicare which has certainly improved and often saved the lives of countless Australians. Even if this alone was his legacy, he’d have done more for this country than many PMs before him and since. But, along with Paul Keating, he opened trade with Asia and delivered on policies that ensured both prosperity and social equality. He certainly left his positive mark on Australia and Australians, which is an achievement maybe only a minority of PMs can put on their resume.

But he was more than a prime minister. His personality and ability to endear himself to the public will also go down in history. No one could ever forget that video of him celebrating Australia’s America’s Cup victory. He certainly passed the pub test, too. In fact, he once drank himself into the record books, when he was the fastest man to ‘skull’ a yard of beer during his days at Oxford.

Bob is famous for once saying “The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest”.

His passing will not go unnoticed, and it certainly put a sober note on the final day of federal election campaigning, but the show will go on, just as Bob would have wanted.

We’d like to know who your favourite post-war prime minister was and who you think has done the most for Australia. So why not join us in our Friday Flash Poll and share your thoughts?

Click on the link below if the quiz doesn’t automatically load

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And of course, share your thoughts on your favourite prime minister in the comments section below.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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91 Comments

Total Comments: 91
  1. 0
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    Paul Keating had a vision and a plan for Australia and Australians. I cant think of any other Politician who had his vision and plan for this country. We have seen his benefit of 28 years of continual growth.

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      Keating was clearly the worst – crazy ideas without any thought of impacts is NOT vision, just the thoughts of an arrogant fool who unfortunately also followed these through with destructive actions.

      He gave us the biggest Recession (which he arrogantly claimed we “had to have”) most of us have experienced, which destroyed tens of thousands of jobs, destroyed thousands of marriages, homes of people who couldn’t afford his 19% interest rates (and lost jobs) and I also heard about suicides, set in motion the shutdown of manufacturing in this country (mostly gone now), hit Retirees (increased women’s pension age from 60 to 65, introduced the hated Assets test for age pensions, also Deemed Income for age pensions Income test, shut down the pension fund set up by Chifley), created chaos in the share market and investment property market (with wild interest rate changes, and negative gearing on/off rules), sold off the CBA, created conditions for a new Outsourcing (low cost) industry destroying local jobs, etc, etc, etc. He did the Liberals work for them without their trying! He now fights for his Chinese employer, calling our respected intelligence agencies “nutters”! Seriously!

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      Hawke was a good man, unfortunately he appointed this rogue as a treasurer who went out of control, and who ultimately came back to bite him and sent him prematurely, at age 62, into retirement.

  2. 0
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    Paul Keating was in my view the only Prime Minister who had a vision for Australia, the only true statesman. I still always enjoy reading his comments on today’s sorry state of affairs. We haven’t had true leadership in this country, our Kiwi neighbours are more fortunate. The exchange rate says it all

  3. 0
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    I am flabbergasted that 16 from 39 people at time I did the survey put John Howard as our best PM. I am one of the 5 who put Howard as our worst ever PM. The reason I regard Howard so negatively are primarily the destruction of the union movement that was his mission in power. On top of that on the world stage he led us into a war in the Middle East on false pretences. To cap off the things I dislike about Howard the division of politics in Australia that was further developed by his acolytes Tony Abbott. I have not even mentioned the lie of children overboard, but that too. All in a John Howsrd is deserving of recognition as our worst ever PM. Can those who voted for him name one good thing he did?

    • 0
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      He is way down my list, too, Batara, just above Abbott at the bottom, BUT he did bring in the gun controls after Port Arthur and deserves credit for that as there was much opposition on his side of politics.

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      Cant agree more He is a shocking example of extreme right wing ideology a sad throwback to Thatcherism. My biggest disappointment was his introduction of taxpayers funding bankrupt business to save his brother from serving a jail term. This was a huge abuse of power. His raciest policies and lack of vision for the country has left us with the rabble we have today.

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      I voted once for John Howard so he must have impressed me at that time. Abbott is worse.
      Credit needs to be given where due and Howard addressed the gun thing so we did not go down the road of America.

    • 0
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      Howard got us out of debt , lowered interest rates ,lowered tax as well, which helped business and home buyers. Introduced gst which got rid of sales tax .which state governments kept raising mostly by labour. Rudd & Gillard put us back in debt, Shorten will increase it .
      Howard”s gun laws were a good thing too.

    • 0
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      Howard got us out of debt , lowered interest rates ,lowered tax as well, which helped business and home buyers. Introduced gst which got rid of sales tax .which state governments kept raising mostly by labour. Rudd & Gillard put us back in debt, Shorten will increase it .
      Howard”s gun laws were a good thing too.

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      Actually Labor increased the surplus in the year before the GFC. Since then the Liberals have left Australia with staggering debt.

    • 0
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      Howard got us out of debt only because the little bastard privatized public infrastructure. And we’re still suffering for it.

    • 0
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      a lot of ordinary people have had to get out of debt by selling assets etc homes business

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      a lot of ordinary people have had to get out of debt by selling assets etc homes business

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      Paddo, yes I did overlook the gun control. That is probably the only decent thing Howard has done in his lifetime. Wisky 171 – I disagree with everything you wrote. Howard rode good fortune in the mining boom and squandered the wealth generated. Rudd was slammed by the GFC, but the Coalition leaning commentators forget all about that. Swanny saved Australian society from the effects of the GFC – Australia stood out as the nation that rode that disaster better than any other. It is now up to Labor to correct the distortion resulting from mismanagement by Howard followed by the lat six years of inaction.

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      Paddo, yes I did overlook the gun control. That is probably the only decent thing Howard has done in his lifetime. Wisky 171 – I disagree with everything you wrote. Howard rode good fortune in the mining boom and squandered the wealth generated. Rudd was slammed by the GFC, but the Coalition leaning commentators forget all about that. Swanny saved Australian society from the effects of the GFC – Australia stood out as the nation that rode that disaster better than any other. It is now up to Labor to correct the distortion resulting from mismanagement by Howard followed by the lat six years of inaction.

  4. 0
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    A great man, great Australian and great Prime Minister. This lot we have now don’t even come close. RIP Hawky.

  5. 0
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    Gough Whitlam got my vote as the best PM, as he had the foresight to end conscription, which meant I did not have to go to a war which should not have involved Australia. He also got the raw deal when he lost office in 1975, and set up Labor for the next generation of Labor politicians, including Bob Hawke!

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    Bob Hawke did many great things but the consequences of some of them were very negative. One of the things he is credited with is the reform of Australia’s import Tariffs. He also effectively told the Chinese, ‘you have great prospects of growth, let Australia be your quarry!’ The drastic reduction of import tariffs under Hawke/Keating lead to the demise of many manufacturing industries in Australia and the jobs going to China. So is this is the mark of a great union leader and a great prime minister? Lets put things into to perspective, he did a lot of good but he destroyed many of the jobs he claimed to protect!

  7. 0
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    Not long to go old Goat.

  8. 0
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    Hawke was the whole package. He was competent and a man of the people. He was brilliant and along with Paul Keating they were a magnificent team.

  9. 0
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    For me it was the great Gough Whitlam. He brought us into the 20th Century. Free University, equal pay, racial discrimination act, moved us out of Vietnam, introduced Medibank and various social welfare reforms. On a personal note, he introduced the national sewerage program which made a big difference to many

  10. 0
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    This is a big help for tomorrow and getting Labor in. It is putting the values of labor front and centre. Hawke honed his skills from his time heading the unions and brought his larger than life persona to his job as PM. People will link Hawke to Labor tomorrow. Maybe Hawke’s last big gesture to his beloved labor movement and Australia.

    • 0
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      Just a pity many of the jobs he claimed to protect were in fact destroyed by his own policies. One day we may have a government that thinks 360 degrees and looks at the consequences of its actions but then with only 3 year terms why would they?

    • 0
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      Must be a lot of miss informed people out there fhen

    • 0
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      Must be a lot of miss informed people out there fhen

    • 0
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      Yes vote Labor if that us your wish. But don’t do it out of nostalgic sentiment for a time and person past. Mr Shorten is no Mr Hawke, Witlam or Keating.

      If ever there was a candidate who thinks more about himself than Australia, just listen to what Mr Shorten said yesterday evening about Mr Hawke’ s passing. Mr Shorten made it all about himself!

    • 0
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      KSS, I think you’re confusing Bill Shorten with Tony Abbot.

    • 0
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      KSS, your ears need tuning. Shorten has been touched by this passing as have Tanya and all in the labor movement. Hawke liked Shorten and he was waiting for his victory tomorrow. Shorten was his friend like many others. Hawke obviously kept his hand on the labor wheel long after he left and still is by taking the attention away from the negativity and into a mourning period. Labor is united and try saying that about the LNP.

    • 0
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      Whereas Tony Abbott’s tweet has received around 4,000 negative responses.

    • 0
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      What did Mr Abbott say that was negative? The bit where he said “Bob Hawke was a great prime minister. In my judgment, he was Labor’s greatest prim minister”

      Or perhaps it was when he said “All Australians should mourn someone who changed our country for the better because he was always prepared to argue his case, even if it meant first persuading key people on his own side.”

      Or was it when he said

      “His (Mr Hawke’s) key achievements financial deregulation, tariffs cuts and the beginning of privatisation – went against the Labor grain as Labor’s more recent policy direction shows.

      You might almost say he had a Labor heart but a Liberal head.”
      Certainly the Coalition supported nearly all of his big reforms helping to make his tenure a time of economic revitalisation”

      Now please explain WHY is any of this disrespectful and why is it deserving of so much scathing attention when actually it is nothing but the truth. And it pays due respect to Mr Hawke as a PAST prime minister.

    • 0
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      Paddington wrote:

      Hawke obviously kept his hand on the labor wheel long after he left and still is by taking the attention away from the negativity and into a mourning period.

      God help us then if Mr Hawke was really still driving the bus. God only knows what Mr Shorten & Co will do on their own!

    • 0
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      KSS if you can’t see that calling a great Labor prime minister and Union man as having ‘a Labor heart but a Liberal head’ an insult then you’re more out of touch than I thought.

    • 0
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      Sundays you socialists are easily upset by a few words get over it.

    • 0
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      Timing Roby, timing

    • 0
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      KSS, actually it shows solidarity, something missing with the LNP unless you count Palmer and Pauline. Going to the master for support and wisdom shows common sense. Being able to produce your team rather than doing a solo act says they are united. Shorten will be a chairman as stated tonight on The Drum and utilising all the skills within his party whereas ScoMo would need to negotiate the far right and that would be so very hard to do. The nationals are not playing nice either as they feel side stepped. I feel sorry for some decent people in the LNP who would have wanted a banking royal commission and the NEG.

    • 0
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      KSS, no question that Shorten is not a Whitlam, Hawke or Keating but then nor is it 1973 or 1983 and the world has moved on since then presenting a different set of challenges. History may prove Shorten to be the man for the times, we know the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison were woefully inadequate.

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