I got a call earlier in the week from some-one looking for Bob Hawke’s Statement on the Environment speech from 1989. This was the day he announced that he had done the impossible and bought together farmers, conservationists and governments to form the Landcare movement. This week marks the 30th anniversary of Landcare
In Bob Hawke — 23rd prime minister, true moderniser and Labor giant — Australia found a political leader the likes of which we’d never seen before. Catherine Taylor Source
I knew I had a copy because I quoted from it when I won the inaugural Bob Hawke Landcare Award in 2012. That was the night I first met Bob Hawke (who clearly on the night would have preferred I was a little shorter for the photos). Its fascinating the things you remember from highlights in your life. What I remember most was Bob Hawke’s presence when he stood at the podium to make his speech. This was a man in his eighties who had the room spellbound. This was a man who was a great orator, a man who had achieved so much and left legacies like Landcare we can all be proud of.
Watch his fabulous interview with Pip Courtney here
What makes Bob Hawke stand out from the crowd is summed up by the man himself in this response to a question from Pip
You brought warring parties together, farmers and conservationists. Is that your enduring legacy?
I did that not only in regard to Landcare, but my whole approach in government was a consensus approach. When I said to business and trade unions, I said, “You each have legitimate objectives, business, to grow your businesses, unions, to gradually improve the wages and conditions of your members. You’re much more likely, each of you to achieve those legitimate objectives if you work together.” And we did that on the economic side, and I used the same approach in regard to the environment.
I was extraordinarily fortunate then having two great men to work with, the late Rick Farley, of the National Farmers Federation, and Phillip Toyne of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Remarkable Australians, and they’d basically been at loggerheads so much and I brought them together, and we formed a tripartite approach, which brought the strengths of government, the conservation movement and the farmers together, well we’ve seem the results.
Yes we all know #collaboration is the key. We all know there is no #PlanetB. Yet we struggle to elect leaders like Bob Hawke who understand that humans have to find a way to live in harmony with nature
It’s time to empower our new generation of courageous champions who will leave legacies we can all be proud of.