The Labor Party is mourning the death of Bob Hawke on the final day of campaigning before the polling stations open.

Mr Hawke is being remembered as one of Australia’s great prime ministers after his peaceful death, aged 89.

Labor leader Bill Shorten paid tribute to a giant of his party at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday night.

“We have lost a favourite son,” he said.

“Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke but his legacy will endure forever.”

Mr Shorten said he spent time with Mr Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget last week, with the sun on the former prime minister’s face.

“He didn’t speak about himself to me,” he said.

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“He did, as he always does, ask about the ALP and the election.”

He said Mr Hawke brought Australia together, modernised the economy and protected the environment.

“We all loved Bob Hawke. We’ll miss him a great deal. May he rest in peace,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Hawke‘s death has cast a dark shadow over the campaign as the leaders make a last-ditch appeal to voters ahead of Saturday’s election.

Mr Shorten has changed his campaign plans after initially being expected to electioneer in Queensland.

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Mr Hawke‘s death brought a Labor legend into focus twice in the one day.

Mr Shorten made his final major campaign speech at the site of Gough Whitlam’s “It’s Time” address on Thursday.

He is aiming to become Labor’s 13th prime minister, with polls showing he is narrowly on track for victory.

Labor’s final day campaign focus is centred on highlighting its crackdown on tax loopholes for multinational companies.

“We will crack down on tax havens and the tax tricks used by multinationals and the top end of town, delivering $5.3 billion over the decade,” the opposition leader said in a statement.

After more than five weeks of campaigning, the battlelines are drawn for Australia to decide.

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“This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for better hospitals and better schools versus bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals,” Mr Shorten said.

AAP

WSFM 101.7 Sydney