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Mark Vaile.

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Mark Vaile has been an outstanding servant of the people of Lyne, the National Party and Australia.

A dedicated and decent man, Mark has worked tirelessly on behalf of all Australians throughout his 15 years in parliament.

One of Australia’s greatest Trade Ministers, Mark Vaile oversaw negotiations and delivered Australia's free trade agreements with the United States, Chile, Singapore and Thailand - deals that will underpin Australia’s prosperity far into the future.

He will be remembered for his prodigious efforts to secure better global trade outcomes for Australia and for successfully putting agriculture at the centre of world trade talks.

Elected unopposed as Leader of The Nationals in June 2005, Mark Vaile made an enormous contribution as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Mark Vaile was also a very fine Minister for Transport and Regional Services (twice) and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

One of the mainstays of the Howard Government, Mark’s contribution brought stability and success to the Coalition.

Throughout his political career, Mark Vaile worked successfully to improve economic and social outcomes for the 7 million Australians living in non-metropolitan Australia.

Amongst his many achievements, Mark’s strong support for the Slim Dusty Museum at Kempsey is something for which he will also be well remembered.

I pay tribute to Mark’s wife Wendy and daughters Terri, Prue and Sarah, and thank them for the sacrifices they made to enable Mark to serve Australia.

I wish Mark and his family all the very best for the future.

19 July 2008