Vale Bob Hawke

The Industrial Relations Society of Victoria pays tribute to the Hon R. J. Hawke AC GCL, a legend of industrial relations in Victoria and nationally.

Bob was a friend of the Society and will be fondly remembered by those who joined him at the Society's 50th-anniversary celebrations in October 2013. At this event, Bob reminded us of his extraordinary skills as an industrial broker following the famous black banning of Frank Sinatra in July 1974.

Bob held the position of ACTU president from 1969 to 1980, before becoming the leader of the ALP and Prime Minister of Australia in 1983.

The Accord of the early 1980s between the Hawke Government and the ACTU was a turning point for industrial relations and the social wage in Australia, ultimately leading to the creation of enterprise bargaining. At a time when there were violent clashes between trade unions and government in overseas countries implementing similar reforms, Australia was, for the most part, spared this disruption.  This was largely due to his remarkable ability to facilitate consensus between employers (employer groups), trade unions and government.  This will undoubtedly be remembered as a hallmark of his Prime Ministership.

There would not be a member of the Society whose industrial relations career was not impacted by Bob Hawke and the policies of his Government.