Former prime minister Bob Hawke has struck a chord with his supporters with an unexpected solo performance celebrating the 30th birthday of Medicare.

Mr Hawke broke into a stirring rendition of the union song Solidarity Forever at an event in Melbourne to mark 30 years since his Labor government established the universal healthcare system.

Speaking at the event, Mr Hawke said the availability of healthcare under Medicare was under threat.

"You can never have a decent equitable society if you don't have a health system that is universally available and an education system which is universally available," Mr Hawke said.

"Every Australian is entitled to be in a situation where the prospect of illness or hospitalisation does not result in a potential financial catastrophe."

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the future of Medicare Locals was in doubt if the coalition was elected on Saturday.

"It's federal Labor that will always strive to protect and strengthen a health care system where your Medicare card is more important than your credit card," Ms Plibersek said.

"We cannot hand over our precious health system to a Liberal party that refuses to say what they will do with what we have built."

Mr Hawke then dug into a giant cake in the shape of a Medicare card with his name on it.


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