Bob Hawke was a sex addict who gave up the grog but not having extramarital sex with multiple lovers while Prime Minister, according to a bombshell biography that reveals his taxpayer-funded security team drove him to see lovers.
The former PM’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget has revealed he had at least four lovers during his time in the Lodge and that he used extramarital sex as a form of stress release while he remained married to his first wife, Hazel Hawke.
“Sex will calm people down, and he was a very highly strung man,” she said. “At the end of a day of intense activity, he somehow had to let off steam, as it were, and there’s nothing like a roll in the hay or five to do that.”
Asked if she believed her late husband was a sex addict, she replied “I think so.”
The new biography reveals that his most long-running affair was with Jean Sinclair, his personal assistant at the ACTU who was also married. She later went to work for him on his parliamentary and prime ministerial staff where the couple would meet for sex at her flat.
As she battled cancer in 1991, the biography reveals Mr Hawke was heartbroken and visited her several times in hospital in Melbourne. He was too distressed to speak at the funeral.
“While he was Prime Minister, there were about four women he was having serious affairs with,” said Ms d’Alpuget, his widow and second wife.
Ms d’Alpuget’s own affair with Mr Hawke began in 1976, was on and off, and resumed in 1988. She also says he was at times unfaithful to her.
“Getting in to see him at The Lodge was (often) the only place that we could meet,” she said.
During one tryst, she reveals she wore a red wig and a stetson hat to meet the PM and the couple “rushed into each other’s arms, laughing”.
The book, Demons and Destiny by Troy Bramston, also notes Mr Hawke had an affair with one of the women he was famously photographed with wearing a bikini at the ALP federal conference in Terrigal.
At the time, in 1975, Mr Hawke was leading the ACTU and was photographed “drinking beer and cavorting with bikini-clad women” including Jim Cairns’ secretary, Glenda Bowden, who later admitted the pair were lovers.
Bramston writes he was constantly pursuing women, including some he had just met including the ex-lovers of his Labor colleagues.
“When he was Prime Minister, he was terribly indiscreet, and how he got away with it I don’t know,” former Tourism Minister John Brown said.
“He was the keenest chaser of women I’ve ever seen.”
The former head of Mr Hawke’s VIP protection service, Roger Martindale, reveals the Australian Federal Police sometimes drove him to see lovers so the Australian flag on his Commonwealth car didn’t draw attention.
“We were all adults,” Mr Martindale explained. “He never asked anything of us. He just expected discretion from everybody.”
His long-suffering wife Hazel knew that her husband was having affairs with Ms Sinclair and Ms d’Alpuget, but was more concerned with his drinking.
“The affairs were, in a way, the least of the worries,” her friend Wendy McCarthy said.
“The alcohol mattered more than the affairs. She would not have been happy about it but there was nothing she could do about it. She was resigned to it.”
There were concerns that his womanising could pose a threat to national security and Mr Hawke’s principal private secretary, Graham Evans raised it with Sir Geoffrey Yeend, the head of the Prime Minister’s Department.
“Steps were taken to ensure there was no risk to the government’s integrity,” Bramston writes.
Bramston describes Mr Hawke as a “highly functioning alcoholic” who would go on benders that lasted for days before he gave up the grog when he became PM.
However, the book claims he nearly drank himself to death during the 1970s.
Former Labor frontbencher Ralph Willis said Mr Hawke became loud and abusive when drunk.
“When he got a bit pissed he could become fairly abrasive and fairly unpleasant,” he said. “How he never got his lights punched out a few times I wouldn’t know.”
Bill Kelty, former ACTU secretary, said Mr Hawke often drank 20 beers during benders before giving up alcohol.
“Bob would drink, he would f**k somebody, and he would gamble until 2.30am or 3.30am in the morning – and then when the ACTU executive started at 9am in the morning, he was the second one there and he was fine,” he recalled.
Demons and Destiny by Troy Bramston will be published in March, 2022