Bob Hawke was born on 9 December 1929 at
Bordertown, South Australia.
He was educated at Perth Modern School and the University of Western
Australia, where he graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and
Bachelor of Arts (Economics). He was Western Australia’s Rhodes Scholar
of 1953 and studied at Oxford University from 1953 to 1955, graduating
with the degree of Bachelor of Letters.
In 1956 he returned to Australia to take up a research scholarship at the Australian National University, and in 1958 became Research Officer and Advocate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). He was ACTU President from 1970-1980.
Mr Hawke joined the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in 1947 and was elected President of the ALP for the period 1973-1978. In 1980 he was elected to the Federal Parliament, and in February 1983 became the Leader of the Opposition. He led the Labor Party to victory in the general election in March 1983 and, in winning three successive elections, became Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister. He ceased to be Prime Minister in December 1991 and resigned from the Parliament in February 1992.
Mr Hawke was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1979. He is an Honorary Fellow at the University College of Oxford, was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Western Australia, and holds honorary Doctorates from Nanjing University of China, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the University of New South Wales; the University of South Australia; Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law, Oxford (Rhodes Trust centenary celebrations at Oxford University - 2003) and Hon Doctorate of Humanities, Rikkyo University, Tokyo (2003).
He was appointed Adjunct Professor in the Research Schools of Pacific Studies and Social Sciences at the Australian National University for the period 1992-1995 and Honorary Visiting Professor in Industrial Relations at the University of Sydney 1992-1997. Member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University 1992–1999. In March of 1999, Mr Hawke was granted the Freedom of the City of London.
In August 1994 he published The Hawke Memoirs.
Current honorary positions include: Member of the Board of Advisers of the Boao Forum for Asia; Chairman, The Hawke Research Institute Advisory Board at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, University of South Australia; Chairman of the Committee of Experts on Membership of the Education International; Chairman, Trade Union Education Foundation; Member of the Advisory Board, Deliberative Issues Australia; and Patron of Indigenous Engineering Aid.
In March 2012, Bob Hawke received the top Japanese honour: the
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.