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Prime Minister, Bob Hawke with Treasurer, Paul Keating and Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Chris Hurford at the 37th Biennial ALP Conference in Hobart, 28 July 1986 (NAA: A6180, 28/7/86/32)

Hawke entered the office of Prime Minister with a clear economic goal to reform the economy and social security system in order to improve the lives of ordinary Australians and place Australia in a position of global influence.

Shortly after Labor’s election win in 1983, Hawke facilitated the ‘National Economic Summit’ to develop a national consensus on economic policy. The summit brought together leaders from government, business, unions, churches and the welfare sector.

The National Economic Summit Conference presents us
with a rare and, I believe, an historic opportunity to set
a new course for Australia.  I am confident that you will
welcome the opportunity to take part in and contribute
to what, I deeply believe, can be made a new beginning.

Extract from Bob Hawke’s invitation to National Economic Summit participants

The Hawke Government transformed the Australian economy, integrating it with global markets by ‘floating the dollar’ and deregulating the banking system.

Domestically, Hawke’s government introduced compulsory superannuation, cut personal income tax and privatised Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank.

Economists will look back on the Hawke-Keating era as one of dazzling reform that is
still helping to drive economic growth that will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

Alan Mitchell & David Bassanese, The Hawke Government 2003


Prime Minister, Bob Hawke giving the opening speech of The Tax Summit at Parliament House in Canberra, 1 July 1985
(NAA: A6180, 2/7/85/3)

Images courtesy of the National Archives of Australia, digitised from the unprocessed photographs in the Bob Hawke Collection