Former deputy PM Doug Anthony celebrated with state funeral


PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is expected among the mourners gathering at a state funeral for Australia's longest serving deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Doug Anthony this morning.

Mr Anthony died on December 20 at the age of 90.

Mr Anthony was leader of the Country Party/National Party for 13 years and deputy prime minister for nine, serving under six prime ministers and influencing Coalition policies for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

His funeral is scheduled for 10am Queensland time at Twin Towns in Tweed Heads.

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Anthony 'very much a man of the Tweed region'

Mr Anthony's family said he died peacefully in the Heritage Lodge aged-care home in Murwillumbah.

"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 His family is tremendously proud of his legacy.

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

On news of his death, the Prime Minister described Mr Anthony as "a quiet giant" of Australian political life.

"He was a man with no pretences who was passionate about regional Australia," he said.

Mr Anthony grew up the son of the federal MP, Hubert Anthony, and spent time between Canberra and the family's home in Murwillumbah.

Former deputy PM Doug Anthony will be 90 years old on New Year's Eve.
Former deputy PM Doug Anthony is being remembered.

Following the unexpected death of his father in 1957, Mr Anthony ran for election and won the seat of Richmond, aged just 27.

In the years that followed, Mr Anthony held the cabinet positions of Minister for the Interior, Minister for Primary Industry, and Minister for Trade and Resources.

In 1971, Mr Anthony succeeded John McEwen as party leader and served as Deputy Prime Minister under Prime Minister John Gorton and held the position for just 12 months before the Coalition lost the 1972 election to Labor's Gough Whitlam.

With the election of Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1975, Mr Anthony resumed the role of Deputy Prime Minister, and served for eight years.

Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony with Tim Fisher at the
Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony with Tim Fisher at the "Prime Ministerial caravan" where Mr Anthony ran the country while on holiday at New Brighton. Picture: supplied

As is tradition, Mr Anthony often served as acting Prime Minister while Malcolm Fraser took annual Christmas leave. Mr Anthony was famous for governing during these periods from his holiday caravan in his electorate, known affectionately as "the Prime Ministerial Caravan".

Among his achievements, Mr Anthony established the Australian Wool Corporation, played a vital role in the development of Canberra's annual ANZAC Parade, championed the construction of the National Library, and worked to modernise Australia's global trade.

Former deputy PM Doug Anthony with his wife Margot. Picture: supplied.
Former deputy PM Doug Anthony with his wife Margot. Picture: supplied.

Mr Anthony was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian parliament in 2003.

As one of the longest serving members of parliament, Mr Anthony retired in 1984 and was succeeded by his son, Larry, making the Anthony family the first three-generation family to serve in Australian politics.

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

Originally published as Live: Ex deputy PM Doug Anthony memorial