‘Bob Hawke loved our country, we are a better nation for it’
Five present and former Prime Ministers attended the emotional tribute to Bob Hawke.
Five present and former Prime Ministers attended the service with 1800 members of the public who had won tickets in a ballot packed into the main concert hall.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison led the tributes and said: "Australians all let us rejoice for the life of Robert James Hawke."
And he recalled Mr Hawke's bond with the Australian people. "It was a great romance played out in the shopping centres with journalists tripping over cables," he said. "A passionate and affectionate relationship between Bob and the Australian people.
"Bob Hawke loved our country and we are a better nation for it," he said.
Listening in the audience were former Prime Minister's Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. Julia Gillard sent a video message from Stockholm calling Mr Hawke an "inspiration".
Mr Hawke's treasurer and former prime minister Paul Keating said that when Mr Hawke invited him to see him over a year-and-a-half ago they closed the circle that had seen them spend eight and a half years in office together.
"Bob asked me to speak at this memorial" and that it was a reflection of the foundations they provided during their time in office … Bob Hawke earned five stars and twenty five carat stars at that," he said to prolonged applause.
It also showed they had buried the hatchet of Mr Keating's toppling of Mr Hawke from office, an event which overlooked the "high level of friendship and co-operation between us."
Together he said they had worked with a common cause towards a nirvana founded on the belief when they came to office the country needed "wholesale policy reform on a scale the country and the Labor Party had never seen before," he said.
But it was also a family affair. Mr Hawke's wife and biographer Blanche d'Alpulget, in a sparkling pink cape, thanked "friends for coming to honour the life of a wonderful man".
She said there was a national outpouring of grief four weeks ago when Mr Hawke died that has now turned "triumphantly" into a "celebration of a life well lived" with today's memorial service.
"Long live friendship among nations and beyond all, long live love," she concluded.
Mr Hawke's granddaughter Sophie Taylor-Price spoke after a video of Mr Hawke and her, as a four-year-old, was played with him talking about climate change.
"I grew up in the shadow of a giant," she said.
The 34-year-old described 1989 as one of her first memories, which would see her pursue a career in climate change.
A video was played showing Mr Hawke's most memorable moments including being hit by a cricket ball and winning the America's Cup which highlighted the humour he brought to the job.
Former Hawke minister Kim Beazley said: "I loved Bob, he was my mentor, he was my friend."
He recalled how he persuaded Mr Hawke to have a cabinet meeting at sea. No sooner had the navy ship sailed through the heads than the storm rolled in and the cabinet table began to move "pinning the Prime Minister to the bulkhead," Mr Beazley recalled to laughter.
"F-this he said repeatedly" said Mr Beazley who added Mr Hawke was pretty angry and said afterwards: "Cabinet is the heart of our government we cannot have the cabinet table running away and killing a couple of us on the way through."
Mr Hawke's former economic Adviser Craig Emerson was master of ceremonies and also in charge of putting on the Labor prime minister's bets. He began the tributes with one of his own. "As a former economic Adviser I was given the responsibility of putting on Bob's bets," he said. Mr Hawke was tipped into a 33-1 horse.
It came in first and a note was slipped into Bob in cabinet who rejoiced. No one knew why, but the happiness was infectious. Even the CSIRO were happy.
But Mr Emerson said "I forgot to put the bet on". He paced his office and worried. But Mr Hawke did not monitor his account too closely and Mr Emerson reasoned it was wrong to inflict such pain on an Australian Prime Minister.
"I never told Bob but I'm telling you today," he said to laughter.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese thanked Blanche and the Hawke family for sharing him with the nation.
He said Mr Hawke began his career after surviving a motorcycle accident that Mr Hawke believed was a second chance - and he took it.
"He dared us to be a better nation," said Mr Albanese.
"Do you know why I have credibility," he said Mr Hawke once asked. "Because I don't exude morality."
"Yet his moral compass did not waiver," said Mr Albanese. "He was our leader and our cheer leader."
"Farewell Bob," he said to a rapturous round of applause. "You go with the nation's gratitude, you go with the nation's respect and you go with the nation's love."