Death of Bill Hayden

I was saddened to hear of the death of Bill Hayden. He lived a remarkable life and has left an indelible mark on the political landscape of Australia. 

Throughout his long life, Bill had a deep commitment to public service and a determination to make the lives of everyday Australians better. During his two and half decades of parliamentary service, he put his beliefs into action. I particularly note the huge debt of gratitude we all owe him for bringing Medibank, the precursor to our Medicare system, to life. 

In 1977, Bill reached the pinnacle of his political career when he became the leader of the Australian Labor Party. As leader, Bill understood that Labor always had to be ready to govern and that meant showing economic competence. He blazed a trail for the many Labor economic reformers who were to come. 

His service to the nation continued in his role as Governor-General.

Bill was not a man who took the easier path. He marched to the beat of his own drum, standing up for what he believed in, even if that brought criticism. 

I last saw him at Labor’s election campaign launch in 2019 and it was a delight to see him rally once more to show support for the party he served for so long. 

Everyone who ever met Bill was left in no doubt that at the centre of his world were his wife Dallas and their family. They will be mourning his loss and to them I offer my most heartfelt condolences.

The Hon. Julia Gillard AC | 27th Prime Minister of Australia

23 October 2023