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Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke has died aged 89.

– With AAP

Labor legend Bob Hawke has died in his Sydney home aged 89.

Hawke, who served as Australia’s prime minister from 1983-1991 and is Labor’s longest serving prime minister, was widely seen as a popular ‘larrikin’ figure well into his old age.

“Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian – many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era,” Hawke’s wife, Blanche d’Alpuget, said in a statement.

“He died peacefully at home at the age of 89 years.

“I and Bob’s children, Sue, Stephen, Rosslyn and stepson Louis, and his grandchildren, will hold a private funeral.

“A memorial service will be held in Sydney in coming weeks.”

Listen to Blanche d’Alpuget tell Mia Freedman about how she met Bob Hawke.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten paid tribute to Hawke, saying the labour movement “salutes our greatest son”.

“The Labor Party gives thanks for the life of our longest-serving prime minister and Australians everywhere remember and honour a man who gave so much to the country and people he cared for so deeply,” he said in a statement.

“The Australian people loved Bob Hawke because they knew Bob loved them, this was true to the very end.

“He was a leader of conviction – and a builder of consensus. But for Bob, consensus and co-operation never meant pursuing the lowest common denominator.”

Shorten is expected to hold a media conference later on Thursday night.

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Hawke led the Labor party to victory in four consecutive elections from 1983.

His government established Medicare, Landcare, and superannuation schemes, as well as deregulated the financial industry and floated the Australian dollar. He also set up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and was instrumental in investigating a treaty with Indigenous Australia.

He was ousted from the leadership by his then-treasurer Paul Keating in 1991.

The former union official was first elected to federal parliament in 1980 as the MP for Wills in Victoria. He successfully challenged for the Labor leadership 20 minutes after Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called a federal election on February 3, 1983.

He was considered a charismatic and forthright politician, with an upfront manner. Brutally honest but always likeable.

More to come 

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