News National Bob Hawke will be given a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House
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Bob Hawke will be given a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House

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Bob Hawke will be given a state funeral at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Getty
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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 on Friday 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.”

From young husband to beer-loving statesman, Bob Hawke’s life in pictures

Bob Hawke Hazel Hawke
Bob Hawke with wife Hazel in an undated photo. The pair wed in 1956 and their marriage lasted 39 years. Photo: AAP
As the president of the ACTU, being made a companion of the Order of Australia in 1975. Photo: AAP
A jubilant new prime minister enters the National Tally Room in Canberra on election night, March 5 1983. Photo: AAP
Visiting his Canadian counterpart Pierre Trudeau-father of the current PM-in June 1983. Photo: AAP
Another state visit: sitting fireside at the White House with US President Ronald Reagan in 1985. Photo: Getty
Enjoying the company of Princess Diana during the Wales' 1983 visit to Australia. Photo: AAP
Opening the surf lifesaving club at Sydney's Bondi Beach in 1986. Photo: Getty
The family man, at home in Melbourne on federal election night in 1987. Photo: Getty
Yes, Prime Minister! With British actor Paul Eddington from British sitcom 'Yes Minister' in 1986. Photo: AAP
"We didn't muck around when we had a fight," Margaret and I," Mr Hawke said of his relationship with British PM Margaret Thatcher in 1986. Photo: Getty
Getting amongst it as Australia beat Sweden in the 1986 Davis Cup final at Kooyong, Melbourne. Photo: Getty
In winning form with Mrs Ruzena Jesey at a Sydney RSL on the 1990 campaign trail. Photo: Getty
Launching his memoirs with Hazel in 1994. In the acknowledgements, he thanked previous biographer and lover Blanche d'Alpuget for being his editor. Photo: Getty
The Hawke children wore black as a silent protest when Bob and Blanche wed in 1995, the same year he divorced Hazel. Photo: Getty
The couple – who met at a party in Jakarta in 1970 – at Royal Randwick Racecourse in 2001. Photo: Getty
With then – Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins at a 2004 event. Photo: Getty
The eternal showman: Hoofing with the Geelong Senior Tap Dancing Group in November 2010. Photo: Getty
Combining pleasures during the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic in Pokolbin in 2012. Photo: Getty
Sharing a laugh with fellow prime minister John Howard at Hazel Hawke's 2013 memorial. Photo: Getty
In his famous jacket, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Australia's America's Cup win in September 2013. Photo: Getty
Greeting Tony Abbott at the Sydney Town Hall memorial for former PM Gough Whitlam in 2014. Photo: Getty
Back at the Sydney Cricket Ground in March 2015 with then – Australian captain Steve Smith. Photo: Getty
Bob Hawke memorabilia was much sought after. Photo: Getty
Toasting life and another day at his beloved Test cricket in Sydney in January 2018. Photo: Getty

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 on Thursday night.

Bob Hawke’s wife Blanche d’Alpuget told the ABC her husband’s final thoughts. Photo: AAP

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.”

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