Articles on Bob Hawke

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Australian wind energy has been under a cloud for much of its decades-long history. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Attacks on renewable energy policy are older than the climate issue itself

Skirmishes over funding for renewable energy research are just the latest battle in a saga that stretches back to the early 1980s – years before the public became widely aware of the climate threat.
The Australian government seems to think fossil fuels need help, when businesses are deciding otherwise. Coal image from

Fossil fuel growth centre harks back to old ideas about climate costs

Do fossil fuels need saving from efforts to combat climate change? The Australian government seems to think so, but that sort of thinking is out of date.
Gareth Evans, foreign minister in the Hawke government, brought an ambitious vision for Australia’s international diplomacy to cabinet. AAP

Cabinet papers 1990: the new world order that fizzled

There is little of Gareth Evans’ sweeping analysis in the cabinet papers of 1990-91 of a rapidly changing world order or of his vision of good international citizenship.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke opening the General Assembly of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Perth, November 1990. National Archives of Australia

Cabinet papers 1990: déjà vu? We’re having the same debate about climate as we were then

The National Archives of Australia today released selected federal cabinet records for 1990 and 1991. They reveal intense battles over Australia's domestic climate targets and, above all, a palpable determination that Australia not damage its coal revenue.
Hawke said his government passed more legislation in 1990 and 1991 than any other since federation. National Archives of Australia

Cabinet papers 1990: leadership scrutiny distracts from historic Hawke reforms

While the press at the time focused on what Keating called “the Punch and Judy show”, cabinet papers reveal that the fourth Hawke government was working at an astonishing pace at reforms still felt today.
Mutual admiration between big businessmen like Alan Bond (left) and the Labor Party was a double-edged sword for Bob Hawke in the 1980s. AAP/NAA

Book extract: The Eighties – The Decade That Transformed Australia

In the 1980s Australians grappled with the challenges of living in an era that brought together boom and crisis, nationalism and globalisation, confidence and anxiety, and conservatism and exuberance.
Ros Kelly was the first in a long line of federal ministers to address themselves to the question of Australia’s emissions target. AAP Image/Lee Besford

25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are

When Australia's government first pledged to set an emission-reduction target, Jon Bon Jovi was riding high in the charts. The progress made in the 25 years since has hardly been a blaze of glory.
Niccolo Machiavelli recognised the absolute importance of dealing with necessity – what we know today as ‘reform’. Santi di Tito

What is this thing called reform?

In our modern age, reform means essentially mastering necessity – taking what steps are necessary to ensure that one’s country survives and prospers.
Labor has long had leaders, such as former prime minister Paul Keating, capable of speaking the language of Anzac. AAP/Alan Porritt

A legend with class: labour and Anzac

There is a complicated story involving the Anzac legend and the left between the 1920s and the 1960s which historians have barely begun to untangle.

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