High honour for Hawke after death
FORMER prime minister Bob Hawke will be honoured at a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House on June 14.
"Bob was a political giant and a national icon. It is fitting that a public celebration of his life will be held at such an iconic and beloved Australian venue," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement this afternoon.
"Bob was a man who understood Australia and the people who call our country home.
"I am pleased Australians will have the chance to say farewell."
The service will also be screened on the steps of the Opera House Forecourt and televised on the ABC from 11.30am.
Free tickets to attend will be available from noon on Wednesday via the Opera House website.
The announcement of the service comes after Mr Hawke's wife, Blanche d'Alpuget, gave her first interview since his death last night.
In an often emotional appearance speaking with Leigh Sales on 7.30, Ms d'Alpuget revealed the final tragedy of Mr Hawke's life was that he didn't get the chance to vote in last week's election.
But she said she took comfort in the fact the Labor great didn't live to see the party's shock loss.
The country's 23rd prime minister and third-longest serving leader, died peacefully in his sleep last week, and Australians mourned the loss of the beer-loving larrikin who led Labor to four consecutive election victories.
Ms d'Alpuget said that after not appearing in public for several months, Mr Hawke had planned to turn up to the polling booth on election day.
"He decided he wasn't going to postal vote," Ms d'Alpuget revealed last night. "He was going to go up in his wheelchair and vote, but he didn't get there.
"He said to me, 'I can't make any further contribution. I've got no contribution to make now.' Which was one of the reasons he wanted to die, because he thought of his life as contributing to society."