SUBJECT: Bob Hawke.
HOST: Mate, front page of the paper today: Larrikin, Leader, Legend. Without doubt would have to be, arguably, the greatest Prime Minister of all time, but the most relatable as well Albo, Bob Hawke.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Absolutely. He was such a great bloke and he could relate to anyone whether they were a worker in a factory, or the President of the United States, or anyone else for that matter. Bob Hawke walked into a room and he was the centre of attention each and every day.
HOST: Yeah, yeah.
HOST: When was the last time you saw Bob and caught up with Bob yourself, Albo?
ALBANESE: I caught up with Bob last at the Woodford Festival and he was so charismatic, you knew when he was in the room. I had him at the Hurlstone Park RSL for my twentieth anniversary of my election to Parliament and people were just flocking to him. Blanche, and Jill Saunders, his very loyal secretary over decades, were trying to keep people away from him but everyone wanted their photo with him; everyone wanted to shake the hand of the great man.
HOST: Great story I heard last night on Sky News Albo, they were talking about how Hawke loved to have a chat in the shower and it was a known thing that you’d get called in, and it became so regular that no-one was really thrown by it. You knew that a lot of the conversations took place while he was just soaping himself up.
ALBANESE: Apparently there are some legendary stories of him opening the door, as he was born …
ALBANESE: … just chatting to people. He wasn’t shy, Bob, you’ve got to say that. But that was just part of who he was and I think Australians related to that. You know, no matter how high he rose, this is the man who was elected Prime Minister four times, and you’ve got to put that in perspective of our recent occurrences where people struggle to get through four months. He just dominated politics for a decade. You know he was a very natural politician and just a great human being.
HOST: What was it like Albo when you first got into the Labor Party, and we’re talking, you’re a young fellow and this was in the 80s, so this was at the prime of Bob Hawke, or finishing up his career in that as well, as Prime Minister, what was it like back in those days? Did he sort of take you under his wing, Albo?
ALBANESE: Look, I was very young. There’s a photo of me with a mullet the first time I met him…
HOST: Awesome. Awesome.
ALBANESE: … in the Prime Minister’s office and I probably, to be honest, wasn’t respectful enough. I’m there in the Prime Minister’s office with a mullet, an earring and a denim jacket when I was running Young Labor. I used to go and see him at his office in William Street and I’d just sit there and I would just listen to the great man, listen to his views about international politics and relations. He was living history.
HOST: Well, tomorrow’s a big day for you as well. What are you doing tomorrow night? Apparently, just a tribute to Bob tomorrow night, what pub will you be at? Are you going to try to knock off the yard glass in eleven seconds and beat his record, Albo?
HOST: Here we go.
ALBANESE: I wouldn’t beat him.
HOST: We know how busy you are, Albo. Enjoy the day and tomorrow, mate. Good luck and we appreciate you coming on the show, buddy.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much. Always great to chat to you.
HOST: Thanks Albo, see you mate.
ALBANESE: Bye bye.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.