WORLD : Hawke Marks 2,678 Days in Job

From Times Wire Services

Bob Hawke, who once held a world record for beer drinking, today celebrated becoming Australia's second-longest-serving prime minister with a cup of tea and reflection on his firm grip on power.

Hawke, 60, sipped tea to celebrate 2,678 days in office during which he has been transformed from a brash trade union leader into a presidential-style leader who weeps openly and regards Australia's 17 million people as "mates."

Hawke, Labor prime minister since March, 1983, agreed he had once been loudmouthed, aggressive and prone to heavy drinking. In 1989 he tearfully apologized on television to his wife of 33 years for being unfaithful.

"There were all those things but there was a constancy. I was always a very, very hard worker," he said on television.

While in college in the 1950s, Hawke won an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for drinking 2 1/2 pints of beer in 12 seconds. He says he gave up drinking in 1980.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World