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Mark Vaile

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A former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and former leader of the National Party of Australia.
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Mark Anthony James Vaile AO (born 18 April 1956) is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and former leader of the National Party of Australia.


Political career

Vaile was a member of the Australian House of Representatives between March 1993 and July 2008, representing the Division of Lyne, New South Wales. He was Assistant National Party Whip 1994–96 and National Party Whip 1996–97. In 1997 he was appointed Minister for Transport and Regional Development, and in 1998 he became Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. In July 1999, following the resignation of Tim Fischer and the election of John Anderson as National Party leader, he was elected the party's Deputy Leader and became Minister for Trade. When John Anderson resigned in 2005, Vaile was elected Leader unopposed. On 6 July 2005 he was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister.


During 2005 he also conducted negotiations for the proposed Australia-China Free Trade Agreement. In late 2005 he had an operation to remove a malignant melanoma from his back. Since Vaile took on the leadership of the Nationals in 2005, there were increasing suggestions for Vaile to take on a domestic portfolio as the trade portfolio requires frequent overseas travel. Throughout 2006, Vaile's position in the trade portfolio came under increasing scrutiny due to his handling of the AWB kickbacks scandal and Australia's worsening trade performance. He also faced the difficult task of placating his back bench, with Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce having crossed the floor on more than one occasion.


On 24 September 2006 he switched portfolios with deputy Nationals leader Warren Truss and became Minister for Transport and Regional Services. His new position had a greater focus on regional Australia, the Nationals party's main constituency. He lost his ministerial position as a result of the coalition's defeat in the November 2007 election. Vaile subsequently resigned his position as Nationals leader, and moved to the backbench. Vaile announced his resignation from Parliament on 19 July 2008, which triggered a Lyne by-election. His resignation was made effective on 30 July 2008.


In September 2008, Vaile confirmed that he had been appointed to the board of Virgin Blue. Mark is also Non-Executive Chairman of Aston Resources . imited (ASX:ATZ), Non–Executive Director, Chairman of CBD Energy Limited (ASX:CBD), and Independent Non-Executive Director of Whitehaven Coal Limited.



September 17, 2010

updated: 2013-07-29

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