Bob Hawke’s 90th birthday marred by bitter family feud over public auction, rape claims
December 9, 2019
header-image

Today marks what would have been the 90th birthday of the late Bob Hawke — but the occasion is marred by a growing feud between members of his family.

Over the weekend, an explosive New Daily report revealed the former prime minister’s daughter, Rosslyn Dillon, claimed she was raped in the 1980s by a Labor MP and was asked by her father not to report it to police.

A feud between Mr Hawke’s daughter Roslyn Dillon, her son Paul Dillon and Mr Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget also surfaced, with legal documents showing a raft of discontent after Ms d’Alpuget offered family items at a public auction after his death.

It’s just the latest in a series of ongoing dramas that have plagued the Hawke family since his death in May this year — and both during and after his political career.

RAPE CLAIM FROM HAWKE’S DAUGHTER

Over the weekend, The New Daily published a report claiming Ms Dillon had filed a $4 million claim against her father’s estate.

Ms Dillon made shocking claims in her affidavit saying she was assaulted three times by a Labor MP, and told her father she wanted to report the crimes to police.

The 59-year-old claims her father urged her to keep quiet to protect his prime ministerial ambitions.

In the 25-page affidavit, Ms Dillon alleges she told her father what happened and was “shocked and hurt” by his response.

“You can’t go to the police. You can’t. I can’t have any controversies right now. I am sorry but I am challenging for the leadership of the Labor Party,” he told her, according to The New Daily.

“He asked me to let the matter go for him and I did so for him,” Ms Dillon continues in the affidavit, adding, “I am still haunted by the sexual assaults.”

Ms Dillon’s sister, Sue Pieters-Hawke, told the publication the family had known of the allegations.

“I love and support my sister,” she said. “She did tell people at the time. I believe there was a supportive response but it didn’t involve using the legal system.”

Ms Dillon currently has net assets of $20,000, and receives welfare payments of under $500 a week. Among her requests to Ms d’Alpuget are a $2.5 million house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and money for dental work.

The late ex-Labor leader’s daughter, Rosslyn Dillon, alleged she was raped in the 1980s and asked by her father to remain quiet.Source:AAP

BITTER TEXTS OVER PUBLIC AUCTION

Bob Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget held a public auction of family items following the former Labor leader’s death, enraging members of his family.

The collection of 266 items fetched a total of $671,630 — triple the original estimated value.

According to The New Daily, Ms Dillon was reportedly highly distressed by the auction, prompting her son, Paul, to confront Mr Hawke’s second wife.

The public auction led to a string of angry text messages and legal letters flying between Mr Hawke’s grandson and Ms d’Alpuget over text.

In the first text published in the New Daily, Mr Dillon said: “Blanch are you kidding with this auction? Selling all the Harry Bilsons? No thought to ask family to take furniture or anything?!! Don’t you have a limit?”

Ms d’Alpuget responded saying she had forwarded the exchange to a third party, saying she found it “threatening”.

When asked which part was threatening, she said she had the “right to auction stuff that is legally mine”.

“Ros will have told him a cock and bull story that it’s not. That’s how she stirs up her sons, with false information,” she added.

Mr Dillon challenged this in a text message to Ms d’Alpuget, saying: “That’s not threatening though is it. Bob said I could have the carousel so I’m just surprised you’re selling it.

“False information — you mean like the circumstances in which Bob died? That kind of false information?”

Ms d’Alpuget’s legal correspondence notes that “none of the deceased’s other family members have claimed any items from the auction”.

LEGAL BRAWL OVER DIVISION OF WILL

Anger has been brewing in the Hawke family since long before the public auction, with a legal battle launched just a couple of months after the former prime minister’s death.

In July this year, two months after Mr Hawke died, tensions broke out between Ms Dillon and Ms d’Alpuget over the division of his multimillion-dollar will.

Mr Hawke left each of his three children a payment of $750,000, and gave the entirety of his remaining $18 million estate to his second wife.

Ms Dillon engaged the family law firm Tiyce & Lawyers with the intention of contesting the will, on the grounds that it provided inadequate family provisions.

Ms d’Alpuget’s son, the artist Louis Pratt, also received a payment.

Two months after Mr Hawke’s death, a legal brawl appeared to be brewing between Ms Dillon and Mr Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget over the division of his multimillion-dollar will.Source:News Regional Media

HAWKE’S CHILDREN SNUBBED AT MEMORIAL

Mr Hawke’s memorial service in July made headlines after Ms d’Alpuget appeared to snub his children during her speech.

During the service, his widow Blanche d’Alpuget delivered a touching speech, declaring “this memorial service marks the transition from the grief of loss to the celebration of a life triumphantly well lived”.

“With today’s transformative service, we smile again, we glow with pride for the presence among us for almost 90 years of a great human being,” Ms d’Alpuget said.

She also thanked event organisers, “Ms Sue Pieters-Hawke, Bob’s daughter, his eldest child” — before immediately moving on to “Mr Bill Kelty, wonderful trade unionist” and other special guests.

It was a perceived snub to her late husband’s other adult children, Stephen Hawke and Ms Dillon.

In footage of the event, Ms d’Alpuget appeared to look frosty during Ms Pieters-Hawke’s subsequent speech.

Ms Pieters-Hawke was shown touching her stepmother’s knee after receiving an awkward thumbs-up from her.

Ms d’Alpuget appeared to look frosty during Sue Pieters-Hawke’s subsequent speech, and footage showed her touching her stepmother’s knee after receiving an awkward thumbs up from her.Source:Channel 9

A LONGSTANDING RIFT

The latest drama surrounding the Hawke family goes back many years.

When Mr Hawke left his first wife Hazel for Ms d’Alpuget in 1994, it caused a bitter rift with his children, although they eventually reconciled.

In 2011, Ms Pieters-Hawke and her stepmother allegedly clashed at an airport.

Ms Pieters-Hawke claimed she called police “to ensure there was an accurate record of the altercation”, and later appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 alleging Ms d’Alpuget had slapped her “three or four times”, leaving her “shaken”.

When Mr Hawke was asked about the incident he said: “I’m saying that I’m not giving this any further oxygen. It’s my understanding the report is inaccurate and I have no further comment.”

It was reported the incident was sparked over an upcoming biography about Hazel written by Ms Pieters-Hawke.

After Mrs Hawke died, the relationship between Mr Hawke’s children and his second wife seemed to thaw, and during an Australian Story feature Ms Dillon said she and her stepmother had “become extremely close”.

Mr Hawke first mounted an unsuccessful leadership challenge in July 1982, but emerged as the successor in 1983 after Bill Hayden resigned.

He went on to win the March 1983 election, and became one of the Labor Party’s most successful prime ministers.

He died of natural causes at his Northbridge home on May 16 this year, two days before the 2019 federal election.