Scott Morrison – Scott Morrison, John Howard and Barnaby Joyce attend memorial service for Doug Anthony
Scott Morrison, John Howard and Barnaby Joyce were among the political heavyweights to attend Doug Anthony’s memorial service on Thursday where dozens paid tribute to the ‘compassionate and courageous’ politician.
Australia’s longest serving deputy prime minister died aged 90 in a care home in Murwillumbah, far north New South Wales on December 20.
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.
He served under six prime ministers, starting with Sir Robert Menzies.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) arrives with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard to a State Memorial for former deputy prime minister Doug Anthony
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard delivers the eulogy during the Memorial Service
Former deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Doug Anthony (pictured in 1999 with wife Margot) died on Sunday, aged 90
During the service at Tweed Heads, Prime Minister Scott Morrison read St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians Chapter 13 before former PM John Howard paid tribute.
He said: ‘Doug Anthony exuded many qualities. The two that shone through to me were the qualities of strength and decency.
‘He was a very strong man, he didn’t bully people but the strength of his personality, the strength of his arguments, shone through.’
Nationals Leader Michael McCormack gave the second reading before Mr Anthony’s son Larry Douglas, federal president of the Nationals, said a few words.
‘Dad was a man of purpose, courage and intent and also had a gentle, generous side,’ he said.
‘Doug did not seek public office, it sought him. He did not seek power, but power and responsibility came to him.
‘Doug was patient, never judgemental.’
Mr Howard (pictured speaking) said: ‘ Doug Anthony exuded many qualities. The two that shone through to me were the qualities of strength and decency.’
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce arrives to a State Memorial for former deputy prime minister Doug Anthony
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (centre) is seen on arrival with Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud (left)
On the day his death was announced, Mr Morrison hailed Mr Anthony as a man ‘with no pretences who was passionate about regional Australia’.
‘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,’ Mr Morrison said in a statement.
Mr McCormack said ‘rural and regional Australia has lost one of our greatest’.
‘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.’
He was a man of ‘decency, integrity, purpose and resolve’, Mr McCormack added.
‘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.’
Nationals deputy leader 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.
Scott Morison paid tribute to Doug Anthony (pictured in 2001) as man ‘with no pretences who was passionate about regional Australia’
Doug Anthony (left) was leader of the Country Party/National Party for 12 years and deputy prime minister for nearly 10. He’s pictured sharing a laugh with then Prime Minister John Howard (right) in 2000
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.
Mr Anthony is survived by his wife of 63 years Margot, his three children and nine grandchildren.
The family statement said they were tremendously proud of his legacy.
‘While always very humble, he made a lasting contribution to the nation, and particularly to people in country Australia.’
Doug Anthony (left) pictured with Governor-General Michael Jeffrey in 2003