Former Nationals MP and country football legend dies

Ron Best when I was playing in Golden Square.

Best, a successful businessman who owns a motel, hotel, and frozen food company, was first hired by the National Party to compete for a federal seat in Bendigo in the 1987 elections.

He won a 13% swing against incumbent future Premier Victoria John Brumby, ending with less than 2000 votes over second-place liberal candidate John Radford.

The following year, he was elected to the Victorian Legislative State of Northwest and participated in a variety of Nationals shadow portfolios, including housing, construction, and small businesses.

When she was first elected in 1992 and married at the Parliament Buildings in Melbourne in 2001, he met his future wife, and liberal member of the House of Councilors Louise Usher.

“We were in the room when he first asked me,” said Ms. Usher, a former liberal deputy leader. Era In 2000.

“He asked me for dinner at Florentino. I thought,’This guy is okay.'”

Nationalist leader Peter Walsh said Thursday that Victoria had lost its “true champion” to Mr. Best’s death.

“Whether it’s his achievements in the sport or as a member of the Northwest, Ron has always helped make Victoria a better place,” Walsh said.

“Our prayer and love go to Louise Usher about the tragic loss of her husband who was taken too early in his life.”

After the defeat of the Kennett administration in 1999, he was promoted to the front bench as a shadow cabinet of houses and retired in the 2002 elections.

Born in Ivanho in 1949, Best played junior soccer at West Heidelberg YCW and was associated with Collinwood at an early age.

Ron Vest and Louise Usher on their wedding day.

Ron Vest and Louise Usher on their wedding Luther

He once said that as a supporter of Fitz Roy, joining Magpie was unattractive, so instead his uncle joined the Bendigo League’s Golden Square, where he was on the club’s committee.

He played best in five Premierships, including coaching Bendigo League powerhouse club Sandhurst on the 1973 flag to break the drought at the age of 23, as well as in the North Central League at Golden Square, Boot and Northern United. It was a success. A medal was struck in honor of the top goal kicker in the Bendigo League.

He said his father told him that football “doesn’t take me anywhere” and impressed him with the need for regular, high-paying jobs.

“VFL and league football weren’t for me,” he said. “Staying home in the bush gave me not only financial security, but also a profile that allowed me to enter politics later.”

“I thought football was not just a complement to my business, but a way to make my life a success.”

Despite his advantage in Bush, he accepted only one invitation to train at the VFL club and played a practice match with Geelong in 1974, kicking four goals.

The cat offered him $ 5,000 to sign on, but he decided to follow the interests of his business and remained in Bendigo.

“The money offered at the time was quite different from the money offered to young players today. I was hungry to establish,” he told journalist Ken Pies in 2011. I told in a book. Bush Football Legend: Local Heroes and Big Leaguers.

“”[Geelong’s recruiting officer] Bill McMaster spent a lot of time on me. That wasn’t the case. “

He made headlines on several occasions during his political career

He once fell from a toboggan in a fun park near Bairnsdale during a national party meeting in Bairnsdale and spent the night in the hospital with three cracked ribs.

After retirement, he was a consultant for various private companies in the food service industry, a board member of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, and retired from the board of Mayne Pharma last November.

“You’ll be asked if you regret not playing in VFL, but the answer is no,” Best said in a 1996 interview.

“You may get tired of being called the best player you never play in VFL, but otherwise it’s a real compliment.”

He has survived by his children from his first marriage, Chris and Elizabeth, and two grandchildren, Ali and Eden.

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Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, based in the Houses of Parliament in Canberra.

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