Ron Boswell, the long-serving National Party veteran, has given his valedictory speech in the Senate after 31 years in parliament.

Ron Boswell, the “father of the Senate”, has given his colleagues a few words of parting advice as he wrapped up 31 years in parliament with a rousing speech.

“To be taken seriously,” the National Party veteran told a packed upper house on Tuesday, “you have to stand for something.”

“Bozzie” had a reputation for speaking his mind, particularly if he believed changes were afoot in Canberra that threatened family values or the fisherman and farmers of his home state of Queensland.

Most recently he’s voiced disapproval at the government’s paid parental leave scheme.

But in the past he has railed against abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

A crusader against green groups, Senator Boswell was proud to have fought hard against the carbon tax and Labor’s efforts to create a large marine reserve around coastal Australia.

He took particular aim at the World Wildlife Fund, which he accused of trying to bully cattle farmers and scaring small-town people into believing their world is changing.

“I am proud to say that I’ve given the big environment groups a bloody nose on more than one occasion,” he said.

John Howard was the best prime minister the Nationals had ever had, he said, commending his political courage to lead gun reform and stand up for the bush.

But the greatest fight of Bozzie’s political life was in 1998, when he “risked everything” standing up to One Nation and their “regressive view” of Australian life.

“To defeat Pauline Hanson and One Nation in 2001 has been my greatest political achievement,” he said.

After seven elections, Senator Boswell’s term in the Senate will end on June 30.