Australia Votes 2007: Outgoing Deputy PM steps down from party leadership

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Monday, November 26, 2007

The outgoing Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Mark Vaile today announced that he will resign as leader of the National party, following the Liberal/National party coalition government's defeat on Saturday. Mr Vaile took leadership of the National party after John Anderson's resignation in July, 2005.

With his wife by his side, an emotional Mark Vaile said that he had considered his future in wake of the coalition's defeat and that he believed it was time for change within the National party.

"Over the last couple of days and particularly as I drove to Canberra this morning with Wendy to come down and start packing up my office to make way for the incoming deputy prime minister, we reflected on a whole range of issues," he said.

"We are at a point in the history of politics in Australia where we believe and I believe it is time for an opportunity for a bit of a change in the leadership of our party. I certainly don't want to stand in the way of that."

Mr Vaile said that the past 11 or so years had been particularly difficult for his family. "It's been a long 10 or 11 years for my family whilst I've been away from home and they deserve a bit of time and that's what I want to give them," said Mr Vaile.

Mr Vaile said he accepted some of the responsibility for the coalition's defeat on the weekend. "As the leader of my party I shoulder my share of the responsibility for the outcome on Saturday," he said.

Mr Vaile also dismissed Liberal Wilson Tuckey's suggestion that the Liberals and Nationals should amalgamate. He said he continued to oppose the idea.

"As far as amalgamation is concerned I've opposed it in the past and I'll oppose it in the future," he said.

"My belief is that regional Australia is entitled to their unique voice and that's always been given to them by the Nationals and we have had proposals in terms of amalgamation, I've argued against it then and I'll argue against it in the future."

Mr Vaile will continue to serve the remainder of his term for his constituency of Lyne on the backbench.


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