• Inside Canberra

Vale George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush was a much admired man and a great President.

The tributes to him have come from all sides of politics including his successor Bill Clinton.

People in Australia who knew him, notably former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, are yet to comment on his profound affection for Australia.

There is a story, possibly apocryphal, about a golf game between Prime Minister Hawke and then Vice-President Bush that exemplified the friendship and competitiveness of the two men.

They were playing at Royal Canberra Golf Course and when they reached the 16th hole Hawke found himself in the bunker.

George HW Bush was a competition level golfer with a very low handicap but Bob Hawke could best be described as a hacker.

Nevertheless he turned to Vice-President Bush and said if I can put the ball in the hole will you exempt Australia from the import restrictions on sugar.

Bush thinking it was a safe bet said he was on.

Hawke took a swing and the ball went into the hole.

Shortly afterwards, Australia was duly exempted from the sugar restrictions.

Sometime later Mick Young was asked about whether the shot was an example of Hawke’s remarkable luck.

“No,” he said, “He had been practising that shot for a year.”

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