Shorten mourning Hawke on eve of election

"We've lost a favourite son," says Bill Shorten on the death of former Labor PM Bob Hawke.
"We've lost a favourite son," says Bill Shorten on the death of former Labor PM Bob Hawke.

The Labor Party is mourning the death of Bob Hawke, with sadness marking the final day of the election campaign.

Mr Hawke is being remembered as one of Australia's great prime ministers after his peaceful death, aged 89.

Labor leader Bill Shorten is curbing the pace of campaigning as a mark of respect for a giant of the party, one day before polls close on Saturday.

"I already feel a responsibility to millions of people to win but sure, I want to do it for Bob as well tomorrow," he told Nine's Today on Friday.

"I don't want to let his memory down. I think a lot of Labor people will feel the same way."

Mr Shorten paid tribute to Mr Hawke at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday night.

"We have lost a favourite son," he said.

"Bob Hawke loved Australia and Australia loved Bob Hawke but his legacy will endure forever."

Mr Shorten said he spent time with Mr Hawke and his wife Blanche d'Alpuget last week.

"He didn't speak about himself to me," he said.

"He did, as he always does, ask about the ALP and the election."

He said Mr Hawke brought Australia together, modernised the economy and protected the environment.

The death has cast a shadow over the campaign as the leaders make a last-ditch appeal to voters.

Mr Shorten was initially expected to electioneer in Queensland.

The opposition leader will now remain in Sydney as tributes flow for the larrikin prime minister.

Mr Hawke's death brought Labor legends into focus twice in the one day.

Mr Shorten made his final major campaign speech at the site of Gough Whitlam's "It's Time" address on Thursday.

He is aiming to become Labor's 13th prime minister, with polls showing he is narrowly on track for victory.

Labor's campaign focus on the final day had been expected to highlight its crackdown on tax loopholes for multinational companies.

After more than five weeks of campaigning, the battlelines are drawn for Australia to decide.

"This election is a choice between Labor's plan for better hospitals and better schools versus bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals," Mr Shorten said.

Australian Associated Press