“THE time has come,” Bob Hawke told his mesmerised Hunter Valley audience.
“I will sing the verses and you will sing the chorus.”
And with that the former Prime Minister – who once told each of the nation’s employers not to be “a bum” as workers celebrated the America’s Cup win, and set a record at Oxford by downing a yard of ale in 11 seconds – warbled a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.
The 86-year-old waved his cane and performed Banjo Paterson’s entire ballad for the ballroom audience at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic, in footage recorded at the event’s first year at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. The former PM was given a long, standing ovation.
Earlier, Mr Hawke spoke of his pride at being patron of the charity tournament founded by former professional golfer Jack Newton.
“I love Jack Newton,” Mr Hawke said.
“When I think of an Australian, I think of Jack Newton. Courage unlimited. No bullshit. A thoroughly decent man who has dedicated his life which was saved in the most unusual of circumstances.”
The men have been friends since before Mr Hawke became Prime Minister in March 1983, and before the propeller accident that ended Mr Newton’s pro career and nearly his life.
Since its first tournament in 1979, the “The Jack” has raised more than $5 million towards diabetes charities and Jack Newton Junior Golf.
Highlights from this year’s Jack Newton Celebrity Classic will be shown on NBN at 11am, Sunday January 10.