Tasmanians have paid tribute to former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke who died peacefully in his Sydney home, aged 89, on Thursday.
Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said it was a great honour to be able to speak about Mr Hawke from a personal perspective, as well as about his great contribution as Australia's greatest environmental prime minister ever.
"Vale Bob Hawke, the prime minister whose first act was to save Tasmania's wild Franklin River," Mr Brown said.
"Bob presided over World Heritage listing of the Daintree Wet Tropics, more of Kakadu, Shark Bay, and doubling Tasmania's World Heritage Wilderness as well as world-leading Landcare."
Mr Brown praised the role Mr Hawke had, with former prime minister Paul Keating, in achieving the Madrid Protocol, a deal which protects Antarctica from industrial mining.
"We had a Southern Aurora on full blow here last night, and I'm sure that was a tribute by mother nature herself," Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said Australia has not seen a government with the environmental kudos of Mr Hawke's since his time.
"Bob Hawke formed a government that has left Australia a rich environmental legacy," Mr Brown said.
"If Bob Hawke were back standing at the hustings in 2019, the Adani mine would be consigned to the dustbin of history."
Mr Brown recalled when Mr Hawke visited Tasmania for the 25th anniversary of the Franklin River dam campaign. It was July and Mr Hawke had forgotten his coat.
Mr Brown laughed as he told of how he lent one of his own jackets to Mr Hawke and, due to their height difference with Mr Brown much taller, the coat went down to his knees.
Former Labor premier of Tasmania Michael Field said what resonated most with him was Mr Hawke's capacity, irrespective of who he was talking to, to talk to them as equals.
"He never lost that common touch," Mr Field said.
Mr Field said he got to know Mr Hawke quite well when he was Tasmanian premier from 1989 to 1992.
Mr Field said Mr Hawke's leadership had a profound impact on Tasmania.
"His government transformed the aspirations of Australians to get further education," he said.
"They were a reforming government that transformed Australia and were prepared to really have a go at tacking the issues Australia, and Tasmania, faced.
"I was personally very affected by his stand on apartheid and anti-racism, and his lesson on tolerance of difference.
"I got on very well with him, because he was so easy to be with. He was fun to be with."
Mr Field recalled a dinner in Canberra, attended by by Mr Hawke after he was defeated by Paul Keating, which indicated the depth of his commitment to the Labor party.
"Bob was just there but had his reasons to feel disillusioned with the Labor party.
"I said "good to see you Bob." Bob said "I've been a member of the Labor party for 50 years", that was his answer."
Bob Hawke was a great Australian who led and served our country with passion, courage, and an intellectual horsepower that made our country stronger.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) May 16, 2019
He was true to his beliefs in the Labor tradition and defined the politics of his generation and beyond.
Former Labor premier of Tasmania from 2004 to 2008, Paul Lennon, said, like many Labor people who grew up in the 1980s, Mr Hawke's influence on him and his career was substantial.
"With me it extends all the way back to my career in the trade union movement," Mr Lennon said.
"He brought Australia into the modern era. The modernisation of the Australian economy and the social safety net Bob Hawke introduced disproportionately impacted the people of Tasmania because more people here were in a lower socioeconomic position.
"The longer he was prime minister the more people in Tasmania warmed to him and came to understand the policies he was putting in on a national level had a great benefit to Tasmania."
Mr Lennon said Mr Hawke was the most dominant Labor figure in the party's history.
"I, like so many people around Australia, are deeply saddened by his passing," he said.
"He will go down as one of Australia's greatest prime ministers."
Vale Bob Hawke.— Rebecca White (@bec_white) May 16, 2019
An immense figure in the movement and for our Nation.
Thoughts are with his family & with the Australian Labor family.
Together, we will honour your memory always & work to return a Labor Government to restore fairness, equity and justice to our Nation.
The Tasmanian government said Mr Hawke was a great Australian.
"As Prime Minister, Mr Hawke led our nation through a period of great change and accomplished much during his time in office," the government said.
"Throughout his career in public life he was a colourful character and a masterful politician, and was widely admired and respected by Australians from all walks of life."
Bob Hawke was a colourful character, but widely admired and respected by Australians from all walks of life, regardless of their political affiliation for what he achieved. A masterful politician.— Will Hodgman MP (@WillHodgman) May 16, 2019
The Australian Conservation Society chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said Mr Hawke played an enormous role in protecting some of Australia's, and the world's, most important environmental heritage.
"Mr Hawke took leadership to ensure the Franklin River continued to flow freely, a move that paved the way for better national environmental law," Ms O'Shanassy said.
"Some of ACF's proudest achievements wouldn't have been possible without the political courage of Bob Hawke and his governments. Like all Australians we owe him a debt.
"Mr Hawke's legacy is there for all Australians to follow in taking action commensurate with our modern environmental challenges, from the climate crisis to the accelerating collapse of biodiversity."
The Australian Council of Trade Unions described Mr Hawke as "a hero to working people."
"Millions of working people owe their health, their prosperity and their dignity in retirement to Bob's work," the council said.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said Mr Hawke's greatest legacy would be his impact on how Australians see themselves.
"As prime minister, Bob Hawke united Australians around common purpose - building a stronger, fairer and more prosperous nation," Ms Westacott said.
"On a personal note, as a young person you look for leaders who reflect your values and beliefs, who you think can help you deliver your aspirations and your dreams. For me that was Bob Hawke.
"Australian political life is poorer today without Bob Hawke, but Australians are richer for his bold economic and social reforms."
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry James Pearson praised changes made to the Australian economy by Mr Hawke including the floating of the Australian dollar, the introduction of enterprise bargaining and the introduction of the Sex Discrimination and Affirmative Actions Act (now the Workplace Gender Equality Act), which allowed women the same status and privileges as men in the workplace.
"Bob Hawke was a great leader of our country, a giant of industrial relations who prized consensus outcomes, an economic and social reformer and a man with whom so many Australians could identify and admire"," Mr Pearson said.
Universities Australia's Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said Mr Hawke's decisions to expand universities and enact the Higher Education Contribution Scheme were a defining legacy.
"Those changes opened the doors of opportunity to hundreds of thousands more Australians of modest means who would not otherwise have had the chance to go to university," Ms Jackson said.
"It took what was an exclusive higher education system and democratised it - making it accessible for everyday Australians in vastly larger numbers."