Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Heart That Throbs for Bomber Bob

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Bob Hawke is her role model, declaring his qualities 'the gold standard for any Australian head of government'. 'For those of my generation, in our 20s for most of the Hawke era, Bob Hawke is the benchmark for the prime ministership', she said last night. Mr Hawke had the capacity to take advice, an orderly sense of administration, confidence in delegating to an exceptional team of ministers, effectiveness as cabinet chairman and 'a wisdom that combined deeply held values with a sturdy political realism'. Ms Gillard, who was launching Hawke: The Prime Minister, by Mr Hawke's wife Blanche d'Alpuget at The Wharf Restaurant in Sydney, said Mr Hawke would be hitting the campaign trail this year." (Hawke the gold standard for any PM, says Gillard, Michelle Grattan, The Age, 13/7/10)

To fully appreciate Hawke's wisdom that combines deeply held values with a sturdy political realism one only has to hark back to 1974:

"The ACTU president, Mr Hawke, said yesterday that if he were the Israeli Prime Minister he would drop an atomic bomb on invading Arabs. This outburst by Mr Hawke, who is also federal president of the ALP has astonished Labor Party chiefs... Mr Hawke said, 'If I had 18-year-old, 15-year-old and 11-year-old kids like mine and saw these Arab tanks coming over the hill to push them into the sea, I would use the atomic bomb to stop them'... Mr Hawke argued with Mr Hartley and Mr McMullin. Slamming the table in emphasis, Mr Hawke reportedly told them, 'If I were the Israeli Prime Minister I would use the bomb on the Arabs. Mr McMullin... told him: 'You cannot justify the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances'. Mr Hawke replied heatedly: 'Why? Because of world morality - the world has stood by for 25 years and watched attempts to push Israelis into the sea without lifting a finger. If I were the Israeli prime minister I wouldn't give a damn about world morality - I would use the atomic bomb to protect my own'." (Hawke: I'd A-Bomb Arabs, Chris Forsyth, The Daily Telegraph, 16/2/74)

And if Hawke is La Guillotine's gold standard she must have her sights set on something like Bob and Blanche's "multi-storey mansion on Middle Harbour" which had former Labor leader Mark Latham musing, "I kept on thinking about Chifley's house in Bathurst and Curtin's in Cottesloe. Yes, we have changed too much as a Party. Maybe I'm the odd man out these days, but I dislike wealth on this scale." (The Latham Diaries, Sunday, 14 March 2004, 2005, p 273)

No comments: