Scott Morrison has reflected on the "larrikin wit" of late former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, who he says made the nation stronger.
Mr Hawke died at his Sydney home on Thursday aged 89, his wife Blanche D'Alpuget has confirmed.
The prime minister took time out from his election campaign on Thursday evening to make a statement as he touched down in Townsville.
Mr Morrison said while Mr Hawke's achievements would be revered in coming days, Australians would most remember "the bloke" he was.
"He made Australia stronger through his contribution to public life. He had a great intellect. He had enormous passion and he had courage," he said.
"That was able to sustain him in being the longest-serving Labor prime minister of all time.
"But it was his ability to connect with everyday Australians - with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke."
Mr Morrison also noted that during Mr Hawke's tenure in the top job, he changed the national anthem to Advance Australia Fair, which includes the line "Australians all let us rejoice".
"I think we can all say as Australians all, that we rejoice in the life of Bob Hawke."
"We thank him for his service to our nation and we pray now that he rest in peace. Thank you Bob."
Australian Associated Press