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Wed, 18 Nov, 2020

The Bob Hawke and Paul Keating interview that almost never happened

The Bob Hawke and Paul Keating interview that almost never happened

Ray Martin has reminisced on a 1989 TV interview between former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating that almost never happened.

The two politicians sat down for their first TV interview together on the Midday Show over 30 years ago during a period where the pair had been at the helm of the Australian government for seven years.

Former host of the show, Ray Martin told 9 Entertainment that the legendary interview almost never happened.

"They didn't want to be there. Bob Hawke's people talked him into it," Martin said.

"On the day there was fog in Canberra and Keating rang up the producer and said he couldn't make it, that the fog was blocking the plane, so we got in touch with Hawke's office and he arranged for an RAF plane to fly him down so he couldn't get out of it."

The interview had the entire nation talking.

"We got enormous publicity. We saw two extraordinary, powerful political creatures who both wanted to be Prime Minister, but only one was and he wasn't going to step aside," Martin recalled.

Soon after the episode went to air, a report revealed that Hawke and Keating had met with each other at Kirribilli House for a secret meeting 12 months prior.

Together they had decided that Hawke would step aside after two years to allow Keating to move into the role of Prime Minister.

However, the TV interview made it clear that Hawke no longer had that intention.

"He was talking to me about staying for another four years, I didn't know that he had a deal that he was only going to stay for two years," Martin said.

"When you look back now you can see Paul Keating was obviously miffed that here before a million people the boss was saying 'I'm not stepping aside'."

Martin says Keating wasn't at all happy with how he came across in the in interview.

"I'm not sure Paul Keating liked it or ever forgave us for it, but I think he bears grudges,” he recounted.

“But Hawke would have moved on. Paul was a far more private character for a public figure."