Statement on the passing of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke

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As Prime Minister, Mr Hawke oversaw the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 putting an end to lawful discrimination of women in Australian workplaces, and outlawing sexual harassment. He also appointed Australia’s first female Minister, Susan Ryan, who together with Anne Summers at the Office for Women, established the role of reviewing all government policy through a gender lens. 

Mr Hawke also presided over the Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunity for Women) Act 1986, was committed to pay equity, and presided over sweeping reforms that doubled the number of childcare places. Indeed, in 1984, Susan Ryan established a pilot program into affirmative action and this later led the business community to establish Diversity Council Australia (then known as the Council for Equal Opportunity in Employment ).

Mr Hawke was a champion of multiculturalism, and under his leadership Australia deepened our relationship in Asia, including establishing APEC.

Mr Hawke’s personal advocacy with European and American banks led to sanctions against South Africa which contributed to the end of apartheid.

In 2017, with wife Blanche d’Alpuget, Mr Hawke campaigned in favour of marriage equality.

Lisa Annese, DCA's CEO said: “Mr Hawke’s leaves a legacy of a fairer and more inclusive Australia. On behalf of DCA, we send our condolences to Mr Hawke’s wife and family.”

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