Former prime minister Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget backstage at the Woodford Folk Festival yesterday. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP
Former prime minister Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget backstage at the Woodford Folk Festival yesterday. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP

Bob Hawke's frightening prediction

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has died aged 89. The following story ran in The Courier-Mail on December 29, 2018:

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has hinted his "terrible" health may mean he won't be around to see Labor's likely win at next year's federal election.

While puffing on a cigar and doing his daily crossword, the elderly Labor Party stalwart said he'd "had his time".

The 89-year-old spoke exclusively to The Courier-Mail yesterday at Queensland's popular Woodford Folk Festival, which he visits each year with his wife Blanche d'Alpuget.

When asked what his plans were for the new year, Mr Hawke alluded to his poor health.

"No, I'm just to see ... I've had my time, just stick around for a little while," he said.

"It's (health) been terrible."

Former prime minister Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget backstage at the Woodford Folk Festival yesterday. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP
Former prime minister Bob Hawke and wife Blanche d'Alpuget backstage at the Woodford Folk Festival yesterday. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP

It's the 10th consecutive year Mr Hawke has attended the festival, where he's traditionally been designated a slot on stage to talk to the crowd about anything from politics to nuclear power, and has been known to belt out a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

But when asked whether he was going to give a speech this year, he said no.

"I've sung my last song, or last verse of Waltzing Matilda," he said.

"That's been done."

Mr Hawke, who is now wheelchair-dependent, has suffered numerous health concerns this year.

He was rushed to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital in an ambulance in May, reportedly for "the wobbles".

Mr Hawke was later admitted to a Sydney hospital in July for a mystery health crisis.

Yesterday he injured his hand in an incident with his car at the festival, leaving it wrapped in a tea towel for his interview with The Courier-Mail.

However despite his ailments, Mr Hawke was quick to say Labor would win next year's federal election.

"I think they'll (Labor) do pretty well (in Queensland)," he said.

"I think he'll (Opposition Leader Bill Shorten) do well."

The former prime minister and his wife are expected to stay close to the festival until they head home to Sydney on January 2.

"This is my 10th successive year," he said.

"It's (festival) giving great pleasure and enjoyment to thousands of Australians who otherwise wouldn't get this high-quality talent, variety of talent.

"That's why I've kept coming back, and unfortunately it'll be my last visit I reckon.

"I do crosswords every day.

"I have a good sleep-in as well.

"The main thing is Blanche gets out and sees as much as possible; I sleep in and then get up and fill in the time."