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Anthony as a junior minister in 1964.

By mid-1969, it was thought that Anthony was made a Privy Councillor by Queen Elizabeth II on 23 June 1971.

By mid-1969, it was thought that John McEwen, leader of the Country Party since 1958, was going to retire sometime in late 1970. The three members of the party considered to have the greatest chance of succeeding McEwen as leader were Anthony, Shipping Minister Ian Sinclair and Interior Minister Peter Nixon. When John McEwen retired in 1971, Anthony was chosen as his successor, taking McEwen's old posts of Minister for Trade and Industry and Deputy Prime Minister in the government of John Gorton, portfolios he retained under William McMahon. He rescinded McEwen's veto of McMahon as liberal leader and Prime Minister.

When McMahon became Prime Minister in March 1971, only a month after Anthony had taken the Deputy Prime Minister position, he lost power as McMahon disliked Anthony and the two had a poor working relationship. He opposed the revaluation of the Australian dollar by McMahon in 1971–72. In mid-1972, McMahon stopped talking to Anthony and he was oblivious of many decisions that were occurring outside cabinet. When McMahon announced the 1972 election, he left Anthony in the dark and he was unaware of the date on which it would take place and the campaign techniques the coalition would use. Anthony called the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Keith Holyoake, to find out the date, as McMahon had only informed three people of the date before approaching the Governor-General. Anthony lost faith in the government and became complacent about the defeat which became obvious in the lead up to the election in December 1972.[16]

When McMahon became Prime Minister in March 1971, only a month after Anthony had taken the Deputy Prime Minister position, he lost power as McMahon disliked Anthony and the two had a poor working relationship. He opposed the revaluation of the Australian dollar by McMahon in 1971–72. In mid-1972, McMahon stopped talking to Anthony and he was oblivious of many decisions that were occurring outside cabinet. When McMahon announced the 1972 election, he left Anthony in the dark and he was unaware of the date on which it would take place and the campaign techniques the coalition would use. Anthony called the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Keith Holyoake, to find out the date, as McMahon had only informed three people of the date before approaching the Governor-General. Anthony lost faith in the government and became complacent about the defeat which became obvious in the lead up to the election in December 1972.[16]

After McMahon's defeat in 1972, Anthony was said to favour a policy of absolute opposition to the Labor government of Gough Whitlam. Despite this, the Country Party voted with the Labor Government on some bills, for example the 1973 expansion of state aid to under-privileged schools. He changed the party's name to the National Country Party and began contesting urban seats in Queensland and Western Australia. Under his leadership, the Country Party's relationship with production industry was weakened. [17] Anthony criticised Whitlam for not giving enough aid to Papua New Guinea in 1975. [18]

Deputy Prime Minister (1975–1983)