Hawkie’s grim outlook for the world
HIS body may be showing signs of the frailty of age, but Bob Hawke's mind has lost none of its lustre.
Fresh from celebrating his 88th birthday earlier this month, the former prime minister took a wideranging series of questions from the floor at the Woodford Folk Festival on Friday.
Over an hour, he told the crowd Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un were "both in their own way, lunatics", and that Malcolm Turnbull's ability to perform as prime minister was crippled by his "shame" at having to give up his own personal beliefs to roll Tony Abbott.
He said social media was turning potential conservative politicians off joining the democratic process, and that the Western world was more bereft of genuine leadership than at any time since World War II.
He even faced down the crowd at the eco-friendly festival to argue for nuclear power as part of the solution to climate change, arguing Australia was the safest place in the world store nuclear waste, and that the lucrative income stream should be ring-fenced to close the gap for "first Australians".
"It really remains the greatest stain on this great nation," Mr Hawke said of the condition of the country's indigenous citizens.
Mr Hawke also rolled out what he described as his "guaranteed" way to win an Australian republican vote - ask that it only happen after Elizabeth II's reign ends.
"I believe the Australian people have an affection for the Queen and so they should have," he said.
"They think a vote for the republic would be a kick in her ancient dentures" but a republic after her reign would get "80-85 per cent of the vote".
The event ended with the crowd joining the former prime minister in a rousing rendition of the last verse of Waltzing Matilda, before Mr Hawke retired to his festival donga for a cigar, crossword and a Hawkes - the lager he's lent his name to raise money for charity Landcare.