Bob Hawke was the best leader of Australia the Labor Party has produced, fellow former prime minister John Howard believes.
"He was undoubtedly a very fine prime minister," he told ABC Radio National on Friday.
"He was the best prime minister of the labour movement in Australia's history. I would rank him at the top of the list as far as Labor prime ministers were concerned.
"He brought to the office of prime minister and also to the position of leader of the Labor Party a great deal of authority, and in politics, the greatest commodity a leader can have is authority."
Mr Howard made the comments following Mr Hawke's death at his Sydney home on Thursday, aged 89.
The Liberal stalwart praised Mr Hawke's "significant economic reforms", but didn't shy away from the pair's differences when they sat opposite each other parliament.
But the men got on well outside of the spotlight, particularly after politics, bonding over their love of sport.
"He was somebody with whom I clashed fiercely on many occasions," Mr Howard says.
"It's rather pointless pretending that we agreed on everything, because on a personal level we got on well, particularly when we both got out of politics.
"I enjoyed personal discussions. We both had a great passion for sport."
Australian Associated Press