The Member for Eden-Monaro has paid his respects to a Labor legend, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke who has died two days before the federal election.
The 89-year-old passed away on Thursday, May 16, in what Mike Kelly described as "a great loss to our nation".
"In Australian history, there will always be before Hawke and after Hawke. He has an enormous legacy," he said on Friday.
"After Hawke, we were a different country. A kinder, better, bigger and bolder country."
Dr Kelly said Mr Hawke's legacy included world-class universities, where places were earned on merit not purchased by privilege.
READ MORE: Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke dies
He said more children from working-class families finished school, as less than three in 10 kids did that when Mr Hawke came to office, eight in 10 when he left.
In addition, Mr Hawke brought in a modern, outward-looking, competitive economy, built around the principle that working and middle class people must be fairly rewarded for their efforts, he said.
"[His legacy also includes] a system dedicated to the idea that growth is stronger when it is shared, when wages and living standards rise and a generous safety net catches those who fall on hard times," Dr Kelly said.
"A country where tourists and locals alike share the wonders of the Daintree, or ride the rapids of the Franklin.
"An Australia at home in Asia, a voice heard and respected in the councils of the world.
"A country that steps up and plays its part, keeping peace in the Middle East, keeping Antarctica safe for science.
"Every Australian carries a monument to Bob Hawke with them, their Medicare card. A green-and-gold promise that the health of any one of us, matters to all of us."
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Dr Kelly first met Mr Hawke at university in 1979 where he had the chance to have dinner and a long conversation with him.
A couple of years later, he wrote Dr Kelly a letter of introduction to the Israeli General Federation of Labor Union when he went there for a university research project.
"I was very grateful to have him with me in Eden-Monaro for the 2007 campaign," Dr Kelly said.
"We will never forget his rendition of Solidarity Forever at Walsh's Pub in Queanbeyan."
Dr Kelly is again standing as Labor's candidate for Eden-Monaro in the federal election, which will take place on Saturday, May 18.