The country was rocked by the news of his death on Thursday, and now some of the final photos of former prime minister Bob Hawke, taken just days before he passed away, have been revealed.
Australia’s longest-serving prime minister was captured with a huge smile on his face last Monday as he enjoyed a chat with Bill Shorten in the lead up to Saturday’s election.
The two old friends appeared to be in high spirits as they posed with their arms around each other during the opposition leader’s visit to Hawke’s home in Sydney on May 6. In one image the two can be seen smiling happily at the camera, while another highlights their close bond as the two are shown holding hands, deep in discussion.
The meeting was most likely the last time Shorten spoke to his “hero” in person as Hawke, 89, was confirmed dead by his beloved wife Blanche d’Alpuget on Thursday in a statement to media.
Following the news of his death, Shorten also took to social media to share a photo from the day, paying tribute to the late Larrikin leader.
— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) May 16, 2019
“When I visited Bob last week, I tried to tell him what he meant to all of us,” Shorten wrote alongside the image of himself and Hawke shaking hands.
“I couldn’t quite find the right words. But Bob knew. He knew what he meant to Australia, he knew what he had achieved for the country. He knew he was loved, right to the end.”
In a statement released following Hawke’s death, Shorten revealed further details of their last time together, claiming: “I promised we would win for him”.
When I visited Bob last week, I tried to tell him what he meant to all of us. I couldn’t quite find the right words.
But Bob knew. He knew what he meant to Australia, he knew what he had achieved for the country. He knew he was loved, right to the end. pic.twitter.com/DVB3JL0V5S
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 16, 2019
“It was Monday 6 May, the Sydney sun was out, the famous silver mane, now snow-white,” Shorten said according to Yahoo 7 News. “Cigar in hand, strawberry milkshake on the table, the hefty bulk of his dictionary holding down the day’s cryptic crossword.
“I gave the man who inspired me to go into politics a gentle hug, I tried to tell him what he meant to me, what he meant to all of us. I couldn’t quite find the right words, few of us can, when we’re face-to-face with our heroes.”
He added: “We all loved Bob Hawke. We’ll miss him a great deal. May he rest in peace.”
LIVE from Sydney Opera House: paying tribute to Bob Hawke, Labor's greatest son. https://t.co/M4c2a6B26a
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 17, 2019
Shorten also spoke highly of his idol during a speech outside Sydney Opera House on Friday. In the tribute to the former PM, Shorten spoke of how grateful he was to spend those last moments together before he passed away.
“He was my inspiration, then he became my friend and now the nation owns him and his legacy,” he said. “You don’t always get to say goodbye to the people you love or respect or your friends. Sometimes it just happens while you’re so busy living life, you’re not there. I’m so lucky I got to see him then.”