Just two months after his death, a nasty legal battle is brewing between former prime minister Bob Hawke’s widow, Blanche d’Alpuget, and his youngest daughter after it was revealed Rosslyn Dillon has engaged lawyers to challenge her late father’s will.
Bob, who was Australia’s longest-serving Labor prime minister, passed away aged 89 in mid-May. In the days that followed, each of his three children with late first wife Hazel – Rosslyn, Susan Pieters-Hawke and Stephen Hawke – reportedly received a $750,000 payout as part of a separate agreement. Blanche’s son Louis Pratt received the same amount.
However, the rest of Bob’s estate was left to his second wife Blanche, including the $15 million proceeds from the recent sale of their home on the lower north shore of Sydney.
And according to The New Daily website it was a tense phone call with her stepmother that has spurred Rosslyn, 58, to start the fight for a larger share of Bob’s fortune.
Rosslyn, 58, who friends say is in a “fragile” state after the death of her beloved father, has hired specialist family law firm Tiyce & Lawyers with the intention of contesting the will on the grounds it “provides inadequate family provisions”.
If the matter cannot be settled privately, it could be taken to NSW’s Supreme Court.
Tensions have long simmered between the Hawke siblings and Blanche, who married Bob in 1995 after a scandalous affair that spanned several decades.
The cracks in their tenuous relationship were first made public in 2011, when police were called to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge at Brisbane Airport after a fracas.
At that time, it was Bob’s first daughter, Susan, who had issue with her father’s wife.
“I approached her to say a friendly hello, but she slapped me hard three or four times, and yes, I was shaken,” said Susan.
She said she called police “to ensure there was an accurate record of the altercation”.
The altercation was due to Blanche taking exception at an article Sue had written the previous year, to correct the perception that her mother was a “dowdy doormat” who only stayed with Bob so she could become Australia’s First Lady.
WATCH: Bob Hawke’s wife Blanche d’Alpuget speaks Mandarin at state funeral. Post continues after video…
No love lost
In 2014, the well-loved former prime minister confirmed that his kids were upset when he left their mother for Blanche, 75.
“‘The kids weren’t happy about the fact that I divorced [Hazel] and married Blanche. And they weren’t as nice to Blanche as they could and should have been,'” he revealed, an assertion Blanche confirmed when she said, “They didn’t want me as part of the family.”
It’s believed Susan and Blanche’s relationship softened somewhat in recent years, with Susan insisting Blanche had been a “fabulous” step-grandmother to her kids, and a “wonderful” stepmother.
While the state of Rosslyn and Blanche’s current relationship is unclear, Bob was the first to admit Rosslyn had initially felt “resentment” towards her stepmum. It was only after her mother Hazel passed in 2013 Rosslyn became “extremely close” to Blanche.
However, in a sign that their feud could have reignited in recent times, Blanche neglected to mention Rosslyn or her brother Stephen during Bob’s memorial service in mid-June – only paying tribute to Susan.