Local MP leads tribute for National Party giant
MEMBER for Page Kevin Hogan has led the tributes to former North Coast Nationals MP and deputy prime minister Doug Anthony.
Mr Anthony died aged 90 last Sunday in the Heritage Lodge home in Murwillumbah.
Mr Hogan said he was sad to hear of his passing.
"I always felt I was in the presence of a legend when I was with Doug," Mr Hogan said.
"He was always easy with a warm smile and interest in how you were going.
"The Nationals are 100 years old this year because of people like Doug. He is a role model of mine."
Mr Anthony was Australia's longest serving deputy prime minister, from 1971-72, and again from 1975-83.
He was the federal member for Richmond from 1957-1984, the seat also held by his father Hubert, and his son Larry.
Mr Hogan's tribute was followed by both the state and federal National Party leaders who paid tribute to Mr Anthony.
"Doug Anthony was a man of significant conviction and even more significant achievement," Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack said.
"The outcomes Doug Anthony secured for regional and rural Australia have stood the test of time. He was dedicated to ensuring country Australians had a strong voice in government and that they were not just listened to, but were front of mind for government decision-makers."
Mr McCormack decribed Mr Anthony as 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 New South Wales North Coast make up the political fabric of our party and our nation," he said.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro joined the tributes, citing his strong work ethic and commitment to his rural constituents.
"He was a fierce advocate for regional Australia, once storming out of parliament alongside Ian Sinclair and Peter Nixon when the then prime minister William McMahon proposed increasing the value of the Australian dollar which would hurt rural exports," Mr Barilaro said.
"He always acted in the best interests of rural and regional Australia with a voice so loud and strong it was hard to ignore."
All three men gave their condolences to Mr Anthony's family - his wife Margot, children Dugald, Jane and Larry, nine grandchildren and their families.
Perhaps the final word needs to go to former Country Party member Bob Katter, who said that he learned from Mr Anthony that "What we die in the ditch for is the value of the dollar"
And after he fought then prime-minister over his attempt to increase the value of the dollar, Mr Katter said he found his real worth.
"I sold my first mob of cattle and I got 20 per cent more for them than I expected - and at that point I truly loved Doug Anthony," Mr Katter said.
"Legend has it there is a bit of Sicilian in the family tree. Whether that is true or false, I would not cross Doug Anthony, not for a million quid.
"I talk about walking with giants, and he was certainly one of those giants. And I would follow him into the valley of death a few times over."
God bless you Doug Anthony. Your memory inspires me to this very day.