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‘He chased me naked through the corridors’: Neil Mitchell remembers Bob Hawke

Neil Mitchell is often asked how well he knew Bob Hawke.

The answer? More, er, intimately than you might think.

“Once, he chased me naked through the corridors of the Boulevard Hotel in Sydney,” Neil told while paying tribute to the former Prime Minister.

“He had just thrown a briefcase at me. It was a briefcase full of highly confidential Reserve Bank documents.

“He was ACTU President at the time. For the life of me I can’t remember why he was chasing me.”

Neil said the peculiar experience was indicative of the realness of the man.

“That was Bob Hawke.  Booze, women, humour, vision, ego. Last of the larrikin politicians.

“You couldn’t help but like him because he was real. He got away with it all because he didn’t hide it.”

Almost thirty years after Hawke left office, Neil doesn’t believe he’d get anywhere in Australian politics in the current climate.

“Today, Bob Hawke would not even get into parliament. This era would not tolerate him,” Neil said.

“Do we want another Bob Hawke? Do we want another larrikin?”

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell remembering Bob Hawke