Universal healthcare advocate and Labor giant Bill Hayden was honored at a state funeral by friends, family and dignitaries.
Former governor-general, Labor leader and architect of universal health care, Bill Hayden, is seen as a humble giant in a field full of egos.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley were among the dignitaries, diplomats and politicians who said farewell at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Ipswich on Friday.
Members of the public, including the Australian Federation Guard Ceremonial Unit, retired police officers and children from St Mary’s Primary School also gathered to honor Mr Hayden.
Dallas Hayden (left), the widow of Bill Hayden, speaks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the state funeral for her husband at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Ipswich
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks during a state funeral for former ALP leader Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden gave Labor “the chance of a future”, said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The Prime Minister remembered Mr Hayden as a luminary on the political landscape.
“With his quiet strength of character, this legend of the labor movement illuminated the light that allowed us to see the path ahead,” Mr. Albanese said.
“Bill Hayden gave the Australian Labor Party a chance for a future.”
Former prime minister Paul Keating said his late cabinet colleague “managed to achieve a composure in the turbulent world of federal parliamentary life that would serve him well throughout his life”.
“Unencumbered by a higher sense of self-confidence or driven by an innate sense of destiny, Bill carried out his long and successful business – regardless of intermittent self-doubt and occasionally dampened inner self-confidence – but his momentum endured,” Mr Keating said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her partner Reza Adib arrive at the state funeral for Bill Hayden
In a eulogy, former prime minister Paul Keating said: “Bill Hayden saved and revitalized the Labor Party as a national force.”
One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson arrives during a state funeral for Bill Hayden
Mr Hayden was born in 1933 and grew up in Queensland, where he worked in the public service and police.
He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1961 for the seat of Oxley, before being appointed Social Security Minister and Treasurer under former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
Bill Hayden laid the foundation for Medibank, the forerunner of Medicare.
When Labor came to power in 1972, Mr Hayden championed and laid the foundations for Medibank, the forerunner of Medicare.
Although most Australians will remember him for that, Mr Keating said Mr Hayden’s crowning achievement was the re-establishment of the federal Labor Party.
After the infamous sacking in 1975, Mr Hayden was the last Labor MP from Queensland remaining in the House of Representatives.
Although the Labor Party was still driven by purpose and altruism, it suffered from confusion between ends and means, Keating said.
It was against this backdrop that Mr Hayden stood as Labor leader.
“From the chaos of previous years, he has brought order, focus and policy consistency to the shadow cabinet and assembled a talented front bench committed to the principles of rationality and accountability,” Keating said.
“Bill Hayden saved and revitalized the Labor Party as a national force.”
Mourners included Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during the service at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Ipswich
Dallas Hayden (center, wife of Bill Hayden) and daughter Georgina (right) are seen during the funeral of their late husband and father
In 1983 he became Foreign Secretary under Bob Hawke before retiring from parliament in 1988.
Bill Hayden “saved and revitalized Labor as a national force,” said Paul Keating.
He subsequently became Australia’s 21st Governor-General, holding the post from 1989 to 1996.
Mr Hayden died at the end of October aged 90, exactly nine years after Mr Whitlam’s death.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dallas, and his children Georgina, Ingrid and Kirk.
“He is our father, he is our father and we still love him,” Georgina said in her tribute.
Mr. Hayden left the church to the bittersweet tune of Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again,” one of his favorite songs.