David Epstein
Saturday, 21 October 2023

Vale William George Hayden

He laid the path for Labor’s success in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bill Hayden – Labor Leader, reformer and rebuilder

We pay tribute to William George Hayden AC. His commitment to improving the nation and himself never waned. From junior clerk to Governor-General , he shone for intellectual rigour, belief that we can always learn and reform, and, above all, commitment.

Hayden set the path for our modern health system, championed the Single Mothers’pension, applied economic discipline when the Whitlam Government needed it, laid the foundations for Labor’s success in government in the Hawke-Keating years, and launched the Cambodian peace process.

Many of the reforms of the ’80s and ’90s grew from seeds sown by Bill Hayden during his time as Federal Labor Leader – the quality of Cabinet ministers, the Prices and Incomes Accord and the modernisation of our engagement with Asia.