An Australian Prime Minister held the world record for drinking a yard of beer. Could you possibly imagine a politician today, in any country, completing such a feat? Even former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who was famed for his drinking would have been proud of this. So how do you think this would have gone down with the voting public? Do you think they would have abandoned him in droves? And just how long ago was this guy running the country? The answers might surprise you.
Australia has a world famous beer culture. It’s rivaled by only Germany. So it shouldn’t surprise many to learn that it didn’t harm him at all. In fact, it helped this particular Prime Minister with the electorate.
Bob Hawke was Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister. A former union official, he rose to lead the Australian Labour to victory in the 1983 election. So you can see, it wasn’t all that long ago. At the same time the US was under the leadership of the conservative Ronald Reagan. Even though it was fairly recent in history that Bob Hawke was Prime Minister of Australia, surely a drinking past that was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records should have put an end to his career, and rather quickly. Nope, think again.
He actually led the country until 1991 when he was removed as leader by his own political party after failing to stand by a leadership transition agreement he had made. It was the third longest tenure by a Prime Minister in Australia. At the beginning of his Prime Ministership he recorded one of the highest ever approval ratings in the country. Just imagine if this happened in the US. People would be in the streets protesting. Towards the end his popularity was beginning to wane, mainly due to a recession, not his drinking past.
In fact, Bob Hawke credits his world record of drinking a yard of beer to his popularity. He thinks that this one single feat made a larger contribution to his political success than any other. He states that it endeared him to the public.
So, what was the record that this Australian Prime Minister held for drinking a yard glass of beer? Believe it or not, he swallowed a yard of beer in 11 seconds. Furthermore, he hasn’t lost any of his skills in his 80’s, be it in drinking beer or public adoration, as you can see in the video below captured in 2012.