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Tony Abbott defends statement about Bob Hawke’s death

Tony Abbott is defending his statement, released just hours after the death of Bob Hawke.

Mr Abbott is being heavily criticised for playing politics in his tribute to the deceased Labor PM.

“You might almost say he had a Labor heart, but a Liberal head.”

In it, the member for Warringah argues, “the Coalition supported all of his big reforms” and says “he was always prepared to argue his case, even if it meant first persuading key people on his own side”.

Mr Abbott is extremely complimentary of the political giant, saying he was “Labor’s greatest prime minister” but he goes on to criticise the party’s current direction.

“In my judgement, he was Labor’s greatest prime minister,” the statement reads.

“But his key achievements – financial deregulation, tariffs cuts, and the beginnings of privatisation – went against the Labor grain, as Labor’s more recent policy direction shows.”

Mr Abbott tells Alan Jones, “Bob Hawke had a remarkable ability to reach across party lines”.

“A lot of the things that he did in the early 80s… were things which many people felt might have been done by the Fraser government.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

 

 

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