Tributes flow for ex-Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony

Tributes flow after Doug Anthony dies, aged 90

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Doug Anthony, with his wife Margot, in 2005 at Louth Picnic Races in Far West NSW, representing Clyde Agriculture a company he served as a board director after his long political life.

Doug Anthony, with his wife Margot, in 2005 at Louth Picnic Races in Far West NSW, representing Clyde Agriculture a company he served as a board director after his long political life.

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Doug Anthon who served under six prime ministers, is credited as opening up trade ties with Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand.

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Australia's longest serving Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony has died, aged 90, just 11 days short of his 91st birthday.

The former Nationals leader and Primary Industry Minister died peacefully on Sunday in the Heritage Lodge aged-care home in Murwillumbah in his former federal electorate of Richmond on the NSW Far North Coast.

Mr Anthony was leader of the Country Party/National Party for 12 years and Deputy Prime Minister for nearly 10, influencing coalition policies for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

The former young dairy farmer entered federal parliament aged just 27 when his father, Larry Anthony (senior), the local MP and Postmaster-General in Robert Menzies' Coalition Government, died suddenly in 1957.

He subsequently served under six prime ministers before eventually leaving politics in 1984, by which time his lengthy stint had earned him the title of Father of the House of Representatives.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Mr Anthony as "a man with no pretenses who was passionate about regional Australia".

As Primary Industry Minister he established the Australian Wool Corporation, Mr Morrison said in a statement.

"As Trade and Resources Minister, Doug worked to modernise and expand our trade agreement with New Zealand, opened up the uranium industry in Australia, and sought to expand trade with Japan, China and the Middle East."

Doug Anthony in 1979 when he was Trade and Resources Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Doug Anthony in 1979 when he was Trade and Resources Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said rural and regional Australia has "lost one of our greatest today".

"The outcomes Doug Anthony secured for regional and rural Australia have stood the test of time," the Nationals leader said.

"He was dedicated to ensuring country Australians had a strong voice in government and that they were not just listened to, but that they were front of mind for government decision-makers," Mr McCormack said.

"He was a man of decency, integrity, purpose and resolve.

"Tales of him in the capacity of Acting Prime Minister and leading the country from his caravan on the NSW North Coast make up the political fabric of our party and our nation."

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Nationals deputy leader and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Mr Anthony epitomised the finest qualities of leadership and service, leaving a significant legacy for future generations of National Party representatives to uphold.

"Doug shaped and influenced the national policy agenda and delivered major wins for Australian farmers, our resources industry and for Australian exports," he said.

"Our nation has been made richer because of the work he did."

Among others to pay tribute, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Mr Anthony as a great Australian.

"An eloquent and committed advocate for an Australian republic often sharing a platform with his Liberal partner Malcolm Fraser and their old Labor rivals Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke," Mr Turnbull tweeted.

Doug Anthony, after retiring from parliament, addressing a National Party event in 1989.

Doug Anthony, after retiring from parliament, addressing a National Party event in 1989.

Mr Anthony, a graduate of The King's School in Sydney and Gatton Agricultural College in Queensland, maintained close links to the farm sector in retirement, running a piggery on the family farm "Sunny Meadows" at Murwillumbah, having irrigated farming interests in North West NSW and serving on the board of Swire Agriculture.

Swire, which owned Clyde Agriculture's considerable farming and pastoral investments in western NSW and Queensland, owed much to Mr Anthony's style and respect in the rural community recalled Clyde's former managing director David Boyd.

"Doug played a leading role in the growth and management of the Swire's Australian interests, bringing a positive attitude, wisdom and wise counsel," he said.

"This, and his cheerful demeanor, did much to assist the development of a unique culture within the family ethos of Clyde as it grew to be a major player on the agricultural scene."

In recognition of his service to the nation Doug Anthony was awarded a Companion of Honour medal in 1981 and made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003, also receiving the New Zealand Commemoration Medal for his contribution to trans-Tasman trade and government links.

Mr Anthony is survived by his wife Margot, his three children and nine grandchildren.

Son Larry carried on the family tradition in Canberra winning the electorate from Labor's Neville Newell in 1996 until 2006.

The family, in a formal statement, said it was tremendously proud of Doug Anthony's legacy.

"While always very humble, he made a lasting contribution to the nation, and particularly to people in country Australia," the statement said.

"Although Doug was privileged to serve the people of Australia in high office, he always considered his family to be his greatest legacy and contribution to the world.

"He was very much a man of the Tweed region, and it is fitting that he should depart this life from within the community that he loved so much.

"May he rest in peace."

Mr Anthony's death came just days after prominent former NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier, Ian Armstrong died aged 83.

- Andrew Marshall, with Australian Associated Press

The story Tributes flow for ex-Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony first appeared on Farm Online.

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