‘This can’t be happening’: Classic Hawke story

Insiders host Barrie Cassidy has given further insight into why Mr Hawke was so popular by sharing a recent story about the former PM.

Mr Cassidy worked as the PM’s press secretary between 1986 and 1991 and formed a close relationship with Mr Hawke during that time.

During an interview with Breakfast News, he shared a hilarious story about a recent experience he had with Mr Hawke.

Barrie Cassidy (left) formed a close relationship with Bob Hawke (right) while serving as his press secretary. Picture: MARSSource:Supplied

The pair were in Melbourne for the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, which brings together leaders from different sectors from both countries to improve the Australian-American bilateral relationship.

“We took the Americans along to the MCG. There were Congressmen there, a whole bunch of senior Americans,” Mr Cassidy said.

“On the way out, we’re walking through the car park and they had the buses lined up to take everybody back to the Hyatt Hotel.

“And (Mr Hawke) said to me, ‘Oh I hate these buses, you know? You sit there and you’ve got to wait for the last person to turn up and it takes forever’.”

As they were waiting with the American officials to board the bus, a group of young men in a car pulled up and yelled out to the former prime minister.

“(They) yelled out ‘Hey Hawkey! You’re a legend’,” the Insiders host said.

“And he said, ‘If I’m such a freakin’ legend give me a lift back to the pub’.”

The young men agreed and Mr Hawke got into their car and they drove off, leaving the American officials in shock.

Mr Cassidy gave insight into the type of person Mr Hawke was. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

Mr Cassidy gave insight into the type of person Mr Hawke was. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.Source:News Corp Australia

“They said ‘This cannot be happening’,” Mr Cassidy said.

“They couldn’t believe that a former prime minister would do that.”

When Mr Cassidy spoke to him the following day, Mr Hawke told him they were “great blokes”.

He even spoke to their mums on the phone while they drove to the pub.

“So the common touch thing was real. That’s how he operated,” Mr Cassidy said.

Mr Hawke died aged 89 in his Sydney home.

His passing comes just two days before the election, with Labor predicted to return to government.

Mr Hawke was Labor’s most successful federal leader, leading the country from 1983 to 1991, but was known as much for his larrikinism as he was his policies that helped modernise post-war Australia.


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