December 20 marks two significant and coincidental anniversaries for the National Party.
It is the first anniversary of the passing of former federal leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Doug Anthony.
It is also the 60th anniversary of the death of another former federal leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister – Earle Page.
While both men served in vastly different times in the development of Australia, each left an indelible mark on the nation’s progress – Page notably in Commonwealth/State relations and health, and Anthony in driving the further growth and diversification of export industries and establishing closer economic relations with New Zealand.
Both were central to ensuring the future of the party.
Page, a founding member of the Australian Country Party in January 1920, oversaw the establishment of the Australian Country Party Association – today’s Federal Council – in March 1926.
Anthony was determined that the party should keep pace with modern times and widen its support base. Under his supervision the party changed its name from Australian Country Party to National Country Party of Australia in May 1975 and then to National Party of Australia in October 1982.
Page held the electorate of Cowper, centred on Grafton, for 42 years from 1919, making him the third longest serving Member of the House of Representatives to date, while Anthony succeeded his father in the far north coast seat of Richmond, holding it for 27 years after being elected at the age of 28 in 1957.