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Robert George (Bob) Halverson (1937–2016)

by Jamie Duncan

Former federal parliamentary speaker Bob Halverson has died following a long battle with cancer, aged 78.

Mr Halverson died on his beef cattle property at Holbrook, near Albury in southern NSW, on Tuesday.

He represented the Victorian electorate of Casey, in Melbourne's outer east, from 1984 to 1998.

Mr Halverson was the speaker in the House of Representatives from 1996 until 1998, when he became Australia's ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and the Holy See, a post he held until 2003.

Federal member for Murray Sharman Stone, who described Mr Halverson as her "mentor, adviser and dearest friend", said Mr Halverson leaves behind his wife Maggie, their daughter and three sons and many grandchildren.

Her brother married Mr Halverson's daughter.

"The family are so proud of him and his distinguished career," she said in a statement to AAP.

"He loved Australia passionately and served it well over so many years."

Mr Halverson was a career Royal Australian Air Force officer who enlisted in 1956 as an officer cadet, topping his class in 1957 before a long career that ended in 1981, after he rose to the rank of group captain in the RAAF's equipment branch.

He became a stockbroker before entering parliament.

After he retired from public life, Mr Halverson moved to his Holbrook farm and worked as a primary producer.

He was made an Officer of the British Empire in 1978 for his work with Britain's Royal Air Force during the Queen's silver jubilee, and received a Centenary Medal in 2001.

As an ambassador, he received a papal knighthood for his services to the Vatican.

Liberal Party Victorian president Michael Kroger said Mr Halverson was "a distinguished servant of his community".

"Through both his service to his country and his work in his local community, Bob always sought to make his community a better place," Mr Kroger said.

"He was much loved and much admired.

"Bob was a friend to all who met him and he will be sorely missed."

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Citation details

Jamie Duncan, 'Halverson, Robert George (Bob) (1937–2016)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

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