Statement by Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott:
The business community today pays tribute to Bob Hawke, one of Australia’s greatest leaders and an icon of Australian politics.
Bob Hawke’s greatest legacy will be his impact on how Australians see themselves. He helped create a more competitive Australian economy but also more confident and outgoing Australian community.
As Prime Minister Bob Hawke united Australians around common purpose – building a stronger, fairer and more prosperous nation.
Bob Hawke laid the foundations for a modern Australia and living standards which are the envy of the world. He opened our country and the economy to the world and brought people together around a common purpose to realise the potential of every single Australian.
Bob Hawke was instrumental in the creation of the Business Council of Australia. In launching the council Hawke called for a “greater sense of national purpose around the restoration of growth”, a cause we continue to pursue passionately today. He understood that you can not deliver fairness without a strong economy.
On a personal note, as a young person you look for leaders who reflect your values and beliefs, who you think can help you deliver your aspirations and your dreams. For me that was Bob Hawke.
Australian political life is poorer today without Bob Hawke, but Australians are richer for his bold economic and social reforms.
On behalf of the Business Council and its members I extend my condolences to the former Prime Minister’s family, his beloved labour movement and the Australian Labor Party.