Hawke’s passing brings back memories
THE death on Thursday, at the age of 89, of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke cast our minds back to when he visited Portland 36 years ago.
Fittingly, it was for another battle involving his national adversary Malcolm Fraser – with the defeat of the Liberals at the federal election in March 1983, Mr Fraser resigned as Member for Wannon, necessitating a by-election in May.
While these days such a by-election would hardly be taken seriously by one of the major parties if the seat was as safe as houses for the other, Labor was clearly buoyed by its federal election victory and maybe smelled an upset in the offing.
So we were treated to the sight of the new Prime Minister on a whistle-stop tour of the electorate on May 1, 1983, culminating in meeting about 350 people at the Portland Civic Hall on a Sunday night.