No final election vote for Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke didn't get to cast his vote in the federal election despite wanting to, his widow has said
Bob Hawke didn't get to cast his vote in the federal election despite wanting to, his widow has said

Former prime minister Bob Hawke didn't get to cast his vote in the election lost by Labor two days after his death, having been determined to make it to the ballot box.

"He decided he wasn't going to postal vote. He was going to go up in his wheelchair and vote, but he didn't get there," Mr Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget has told ABC's 7:30.

But the former leader left the world believing he had contributed everything he could.

"He said to me, 'I can't make any further contribution. I've got no contribution to make now'," Ms d'Alpuget says.

"Which was one of the reasons he wanted to die, because he thought of his life as contributing to society."

Ms d'Alpuget's comments come a week after the giant of Australian politics died peacefully at his Sydney home.

The outpouring of affection for the former leader since has been immense, causing mixed emotions for his long-time love.

"It's been a comfort and it's also been a pain. Painful because it brings up all the emotion of his dying," she said.

"But...it has been marvellous for the country to have its heart softened I think by the thought of a part of them going away forever."

The former ACTU leader rose through union and Labor ranks and won the party four elections, with his wife and mother to their children Hazel by his side.

But in 1991 he was dumped and replaced by his treasurer Paul Keating, his marriage hit the rocks, and he and Hazel eventually divorced.

Mr Hawke married Ms d'Alpuget, his biographer with whom he'd had an affair, in 1995.

It was far earlier in 1978 when she realised she was in love with him, but Ms d'Alpuget says she felt very sad at the time and long after for Hazel.

The French song La Vie En Rose reminded her of how she must have felt.

"My feelings about Hazel's sadness didn't change. I still always, really up until the end, felt that sorrow and whenever I hear that song I feel that sorrow for her."

While Mr Hawke and Hazel shared young love, he shared a mature love with Ms d'Alpuget she says was characterised by softness, intimacy and a lack of secrets and pretences.

Young people don't often talk about such love because they're afraid of death, Ms d'Alpuget believes, but her husband - whom she admired for his honesty, integrity and strong character - didn't share that trait.

"He had no fear of death."

Australian Associated Press