Ralph Hunt (politician)

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The Honourable
Ralph Hunt
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Gwydir
In office
7 June 1969 – 24 February 1989
Preceded by Ian Allan
Succeeded by John Anderson
Personal details
Born (1928-03-31)31 March 1928
Narrabri, New South Wales
Died 22 May 2011 (aged 83)
Sydney, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party National Party of Australia
Occupation Grazier

Ralph James Dunnet Hunt AO (31 March 1928 – 22 May 2011) was a Deputy Leader of the National Party of Australia.

Hunt was born in Narrabri, New South Wales to an established farming and grazing family, which traditions he continued after completing his schooling at The Scots College, Sydney. His mother's family, the Dunnetts, owned the North Western Courier newspaper. He was a councillor of Boomi Shire Council from 1956 to 1968 and Vice-President from 1962 to 1968.

He won the seat of Gwydir in the Australian Parliament for the Country Party at a by-election in June 1969 following the resignation of Ian Allan. He was appointed Minister for the Interior in the Second Gorton Ministry in February 1971 and retained that position in the McMahon Ministry until the defeat of the government at the 1972 election.[1]

Following the Liberal-National Country Party Coalition's win at the 1975 election, Malcolm Fraser appointed him Minister for Health. He was responsible for introducing Medibank Mark II. In December 1979, Fraser appointed Hunt Minister for Transport. His portfolio became Transport and Construction in April 1982, but the coalition government was defeated at the 1983 election.

He had returned to the backbench in preparation for retirement; but when Doug Anthony resigned in 1984, Hunt was persuaded to return to the front bench and was elected Deputy Leader of the National Party to Ian Sinclair, holding the position from 1984 to 1987. He became shadow minister for primary industries, and resigned from Parliament in February 1989.[1]

He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in January 1990.[2]

Ralph Hunt died in Sydney on 22 May 2011, aged 83.[3] He was survived his wife Miriam (Mim) née McMahon, whom he married in 1953; and three children.


Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Nixon
Minister for the Interior
Succeeded by
Keppel Enderby
Preceded by
Don Chipp
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Michael MacKellar
Preceded by
Peter Nixon (transport)
Tom McVeigh (construction)
Minister for Transport
Succeeded by
Peter Morris (transport)
Chris Hurford (construction)
Minister for Transport and Construction
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ian Allan
Member for Gwydir
Succeeded by
John Anderson
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Moss
Federal President of the Country Party
Succeeded by
Sidney Roberts
Preceded by
Ian Sinclair
Deputy Leader of the
National Party of Australia

Succeeded by
Bruce Lloyd