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Hawke sets date for early Australian election

Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, riding high in the polls despite fierce opposition attacks accusing him of criminal ties, on Monday set December 1 as the date for a general election.

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In calling the early election, Hawke is apparently aiming to subordinate the crime debate to economic issues which he expects will be of more concern to voters.

The opposition has accused Labor of being soft on organized crime and drug trafficking, charges which reduced Hawke to tears at a press conference last month. His wife said later he had wept because one of their daughters was addicted to heroin.

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