Born in Bordertown, SA and married to Hazel Masterson, he was educated at the Perth Modern School, the University of Washington, and Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), before becoming a trade unionist. He described himself as an agnostic.
His governments continued the increasingly heavy legislative programs of his predecessors. Most prominent was the following:
- The Industrial Relations Act 1988, which replaced the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904
- the Social Security Act 1991, which replaced the Social Security Act 1947.
- The World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983, which invoked a provision in the Constitution to bring "heritage areas" under Commonwealth control for preservation purposes.
Hawke lost the leadership of the ALP and thus his position as Prime Minister due to an internal leadership challenge in 1991 by Paul Keating.
|Australian Prime Ministers|
|Edmund Barton (1901)
||Stanley Bruce (1923)
||Francis Forde (1945)
||Malcolm Fraser (1975)|