The curious case of the Bob Hawke estate dispute

Date: Feb 25, 2020

Wills have long since been a source of family drama – and when that family is in the limelight of fame, the disputes get even more explosive.

Foundation of the case

The daughter of former PM and Labor leader Bob Hawke is suing her late father’s widow for more than the will granted her. Rosslyn Dillion claims the original amount is not enough to meet her living expenses. She also claims she has been irrevocably scarred due to alleged sexual assaults in the 1980s committed by her father’s former colleague, Victorian Labor MP Bill Landeryou – claims she said her father demanded she keep under wraps when she first told him. (This was not long before her father challenged Bill Hayden for the party leadership.)

In a 25-page affidavit, Dillion is showcased as a woman reliant on welfare due to struggles with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and agoraphobia.

Dillion has contested the estate – which was given entirely to Hawke’s second wife Blanche d’Alpuget – claiming she is entitled to an additional $4.2 million. Based on projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Dillion, who is 59 years old, is slated to live another 27.6 years and her living expenses over that time amount to $1.2 million. She claims her current disability pension and assets don’t cover her basic cost of living and therefore is entitled to more than her current inheritance allowed – including money to buy a house in the Sydney suburbs and a full set of dental implants, among other things.

Controversial disbursement of the estate

Hawke and d’Alpuget were married after a lengthy affair – during which the latter served as biographer for the former – and Hawke’s subsequent divorce from Dillion’s mother Hazel Hawke, who died 8 years after Hawke married d’Alpuget.

The will stated that Hawke’s eldest sister Sue and brother Stephen receive $750,000 each – the same amount as Dillion and Ms d’Alpuget’s son, Louis Pratt.

The New South Wales Supreme court mentioned the matter during session on 30 January 2020 prior to its referral to mediation ahead of any possible hearing. The mediation is set to take place in March, with the matter returning to court 14 April.

For more information on creating or contesting a will contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

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