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John McEwen was Prime Minister from 19 December 1967 to 10 January 1968 following the death of Harold Holt. His term as Prime Minister came near the end of his 37 years in parliament.
Though only briefly Prime Minister, McEwen served as deputy Prime Minister for twelve years, in the governments of Robert Menzies, Harold Holt and John Gorton. He was acting Prime Minister many times in the years from 1958 to 1971.
McEwen held the key ministerial responsibilities of Commerce and Trade for 20 years from 1949 to 1971. During this time the portfolio emphasis moved away from agriculture and into the broader industry area. Though a farmer and Country Party leader, McEwen also moved the emphasis from low tariffs to protection of manufacturing industries.