Drover's dog couldn't win this time: Hayden

DOGGONE: Bill Hayden with Diesel at the launch of The Drover’s Dog Off-Leash Dog Park at Rosewood.
DOGGONE: Bill Hayden with Diesel at the launch of The Drover’s Dog Off-Leash Dog Park at Rosewood. Sarah Harvey

LABOR needs more than a drover's dog to win the next election, according to former governor-general Bill Hayden.

The quip - "a drover's dog could lead the Labor Party to victory" - was made by Mr Hayden after he was replaced by Bob Hawke as Labor leader on the eve of the 1983 federal election.

Mr Hayden joined his wife Dallas in Rosewood on Saturday for the official naming of the Drover's Dog Off-Leash Dog Park at Tom Lenihan Park.

But Mr Hayden said he was honoured - in fact "my tail is wagging"- to be acknowledged in the unveiling of an official sign at the entrance to the park.

"It makes me worry a bit about my legacy to our society," he said.

"The longer I am away from the point of retirement when I left parliament, the more I am remembered.

"There are so many things I did in my political life that I am very proud of - the homeless program providing hostels for deprived groups in our community, the single mother's allowance and single person's allowance, universal health insurance and Medibank.

"But the one thing I am remembered for is damn well saying 'a drover's dog could win the next election'. It seems to have settled into popular idiom.

"The only person who didn't like it was Bob Hawke."

Mr Hayden was elected in 1961 as the federal member for Oxley and remained in the seat until 1988 when he resigned to become governor-general - an office he held until his retirement in 1996.

He was minister for Social Security from 1972 to 1975 and became leader of the Labor opposition in 1977.

Reluctant to comment too much on the election, the Lake Wivenhoe cattle farmer said he was keeping an eye on the polls.

"Labor has a lot of hard work ahead of them," Mr Hayden said.

"They will have to improve in the polls to win.

"It will take more than a drover's dog this time."

Councillor David Pahlke said Mr Hayden's throwaway line caught the imagination of the public.

It was absorbed into the national lexicon after first surfacing in the 1940s.

"Using it as part of this park is a way of ensuring that it is never forgotten," Cr Pahlke said.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was pleased to acknowledge the "drover's dog" which had become part of the Australian vernacular.

"I'm sure Mr Hayden never dreamed his use of this expression would bring him to a park in Rosewood for the opening of this new facility."



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