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Tony Abbott Slammed For "Disgraceful" Bob Hawke Statement

Tony Abbott's been slammed for politicising Bob Hawke's death and re-writing history in a tasteless statement last night. 

Abbott released a statement on Twitter that said Hawke "had a Labor heart but a Liberal head".

"Bob Hawke was a great prime minister," the statement said.

"In my judgment, he was Labor's greatest prime minister. But his key achievements - financial deregulation, tariff cuts, and the beginnings of privatisation - went against the Labor grain, as Labor's more recent policy direction shows.

"You might almost say he had a Labor heart, but a Liberal head. Certainly, the Coalition supported nearly all his big reforms, helping to make his tenure a time of economic revitalisation.

"All Australians should mourn someone who changed our country for the better because he was always prepared to argue his case, even if it meant first persuading key people on his own side."

Former Hawke minister Susan Ryan tore into him on the ABC, saying there was “nothing Liberal about Bob”.

“He was absolutely Labor through and through. He loved the Labor movement. He loved nothing more in his later years than getting together with union colleagues, singing Solidarity for Ever, knowing the verses. It came from the heart,” she said.

“The idea that he would advance and create new directions in terms of deregulation was not Labor being Liberal, it was just hugely intelligent understanding of the way the world was going and making decisions that would ultimately be best for all the people of Australia.”

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie also ripped into Abbott - calling him a "midget".

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