May 23, 2013 8:23PM
FORMER first lady Hazel Hawke has been remembered as a wonderful, gutsy and compassionate Australian who touched the lives of everyday people.
The former wife of Labor’s longest serving prime minister Bob Hawke, has died aged 83.
Tributes from across the political spectrum poured in for Mrs Hawke, who shared the highs and lows of the political roller-coaster life with Mr Hawke.
Her daughter, Sue Pieters-Hawke, said she died peacefully surrounded by her family after finally succumbing to complications of dementia.
”The family appreciates the great affection many have for Hazel, but ask for privacy at this stage,” Ms Pieters-Hawke said.
”There will be a private funeral for family and close friends. A memorial celebration of her life will be held later at a time and place to be advised.”
Hazel and Bob were married for 38 years, including nine years in The Lodge, after meeting at a church camp when they were 18.
They stayed together despite Mr Hawke being a hard drinker and womaniser.
Asked about his unfaithfulness she once said ”of course there was hurt … but it’s gone. I always felt it was just a phase”.
They divorced in 1994 and Mr Hawke married his biographer Blanche D’Alpuget the following year.
Mrs Hawke became the public face of a campaign to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s when she revealed a decade ago that she had the disease.
In her final years she lived in a high-care nursing home.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce led the tributes to Mrs Hawke, describing her as one of the most admired Australians in public life.
”She was gutsy, compassionate, and had a fierce intelligence and a wonderful sense of humour,” Mrs Bryce said.
Hazel Hawke has been remembered as a ”wonderful Australian”.
”Hazel contributed to our community, our country, across so many fields – social reform, our cultural life, children’s television, and family enrichment.
”My most special memory of her is of the time at the Opera House when she played the piano exquisitely. I can still see her joyousness and delight playing in her beautiful hot pink dress.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: ”We have lost a wonderful Australian. Ordinary Australians saw the best of themselves in Hazel.
Many women of her generation will feel they have lost a friend.
”Hazel was one of those rare people who are liked and respected in equal measure. Her warmth and generosity of spirit in success were only matched by her courage and dignity in adversity.”
”Bob Hawke’s public achievements in the union movement and in Government are unthinkable without Hazel’s steadfast support.”
Ms Gillard said the Government will discuss with her family ”an appropriate way to recognise Hazel’s contribution to public life”.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said: ”Hazel Hawke was widely respected and admired in our community. She was much loved for her courage in facing up to and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Bob and Hazel Hawke on the piano at The Lodge in 1990.
”Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this sad time. She will be greatly missed.”
Ita Buttrose, the Australian of the Year and president of Alzheimer’s Australia, said many Australians ”would have a sense of personal loss”.
”Hazel Hawke’s life was a life to celebrate and one devoted to many causes and especially those Australians who suffered disadvantage.”
”Hazel embodied a sense of fairness and concern for other Australians. She was the first and only well-known Australian to speak publicly about her life with Alzheimer’s disease.”
”Her courage to speak openly about her dementia journey has left a lasting legacy in raising the profile of Alzheimer’s disease and reducing the strong sense of isolation that thousands of Australians with dementia experience.
Former prime minister John Howard remembered Ms Hawke as a ”gracious lady”.
”She bravely fought against an illness that sadly affects too many older people. I extend my sympathies to her children.”
Another former prime minister, Paul Keating, said Mrs Hawke was a “wonderful person”.
Hazel Hawke with Bob after his re-election as prime minister in 1984.
He said she “contributed much to the community around her, as she did to her family and friends.”
“She was a person of her time, who conducted her life in a no-nonsense way, free of any airs and graces,” Mr Keating said.
“During my time as Treasurer, Annita and I spent many happy and friendly hours with her. We know how much she will be missed, especially by her family and more widely, by the Australian people.”
Former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty said Ms Hawke was Australia’s Eleanor Roosevelt.
”She was a wonderful woman, she was not just a great supporter to Bob getting to be prime minister, she was a person who in her own right made a significant contribution, supporting her family, supporting the community in terms of a range of charity work,” he said.
”She was a great supporter for women, she was the Eleanor Roosevelt in Australian political life.”
Mrs Hawke was also board member of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, National Patron of Greening Australia and the Patron of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey expressed his sorrow.
Hazel Hawke at the launch of an ABC children’s TV show in 1995.
”She was a constituent, and was immensely respected by many Australians,” Mr Hockey said.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said: ”Hazel Hawke was a woman of grace who all Australians admired – we in the labour movement, along with so many, will miss her.”
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said Mrs Hawke ”was the Australian representation of the warmth and familiarity of a mum. A good person – God bless”.
Greens leader Christine Milne said Ms Hawke made ”a wonderful contribution to the life of the nation”.
Long-standing Liberal MP Phillip Ruddock – who was first elected into parliament in 1973 – said she was an extraordinarily supportive wife.
”We have all watched with sadness her illness in recent years. I think all of us feel for her family at this time,” he said.
Kevin Rudd’s wife Therese Rein spoke on behalf of the Rudd family.
“Hazel Hawke served Australia with grace, dedication and dignity,” Ms Rein said.
“Despite all the complications of our nation’s politics, Hazel captured the heart of the Australian people.
Mrs Hawke is survived by three children and six grand children.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
how she obtains her heart’s desire = HE = 85 = Obituary. Epitaph.
predictions for the year 2013 are at:
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learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson:
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