Vale Bob Hawke

On behalf of the ECCV Board, staff and members, we would like to express our great sadness at the passing of former Australian Prime Minister, Robert James Lee Hawke, universally know as ‘Bob Hawke’ or simply ‘Hawkie’.

Our deepest condolences go to his wife, family and friends at the passing of such a remarkable and outstanding Australian.

ECCV founder Walter Lippmann had a personal association with Bob Hawke. Lippmann was a strong proponent of multiculturalism and an influential critic of so-called ‘assimilation’ policies, and his Labor party membership and politics saw him as a friend and natural ally of Hawke.

Bob Hawke’s contribution to promoting and building the values of Multiculturalism in this country cannot be overstated. He truly deserved and embodied the title of ‘Champion’ of Multiculturalism – not only through his statements but also in his actions.

He worked tirelessly to promote the essential and core values of Multiculturalism, and was rigorous in enacting legislation to support this vision. The highly successful Multiculturalism that we experience in Australia today is in no small part due to some of the ground-breaking work did in this area.

Among his many achievements, Bob Hawke launched the National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia in July 1989. It identified the three elements of multicultural policy as cultural identity, social justice and economic efficiency

Mr Hawke’s death also comes just over two weeks before the 30th anniversary of the massacre on June 4, 1989, when Beijing used violent force to suppress student protests at Tiananmen Square.

His announcement to extend all temporary permits for Chinese nationals and the subsequent granting of permanent visas to 42,000 people not only changed their lives, but the lives of generations of Chinese-Australians after them.

The passing of Bob Hawke definitely marks the end of and era, and he leaves a strong legacy for grassroots working people.

He was a trail-blazer with multiple and diverse achievements, the life changing benefits of which we all now enjoy. Our challenge, as we go forward as a country with a record in multiculturalism that is held up as a success story and positive example to the rest of the world, is to keep the values that Bob Hawke embodied in this area alive for future generations.



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We are proud to recognise the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, as the first Australians, cultural leaders and traditional custodians of the land from which we advocate for ethnic community groups. We pay our respects to their elders, past & present.

ECCV Statement: Recognising the Rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders 


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Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
Suite 101, 398 Sydney Road,
Coburg VIC 3058
Phone: 9354 9555