26/11/2007 - 13:11

Mark Vaile quits as Nationals leader

26/11/2007 - 13:11

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Outgoing deputy prime minister Mark Vaile has become the latest coalition leader to quit, stepping down as Nationals leader in the wake of last weekend's crushing election defeat.

Outgoing deputy prime minister Mark Vaile has become the latest coalition leader to quit, stepping down as Nationals leader in the wake of last weekend's crushing election defeat.

Mr Vaile said he would not be contesting the leadership when the Nationals meet later this week or early next week and took some responsibility for the coalition's election loss.

"As part of that leadership team and as the leader of my party I shoulder my share of the responsibility for the outcome on Saturday," Mr Vaile said.

But Mr Vaile said he was happy with the Nationals election campaign.

"We fielded outstanding candidates in all the electorates that we contested across Australia," he said.

Mr Vaile said he would leave the leadership role with the party organisation in strong shape.

"We have changed the way the party is operated and focused it very much on modern-day campaigning and ensured that the party was well resourced to embark on this election campaign and we certainly did that," he said.
Mr Vaile said the Liberals and Nationals should remain in coalition but he would not support an amalgamation of the two parties.

"My view is that the best opposition as far as the coalition parties are concerned is where there is unity," he said.

"It will be up to others to make those decisions and participate in those negotiations, but my view is that we should remain in coalition.

"And when I have my vote on that, that's where I'll stand.

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


The Nationals lost the party's most marginal seat, the NSW north-coast electorate of Page, to Labor and also failed to pick up the NSW seat of Richmond, which the Nationals lost to Labor in 2004.

But Mr Vaile said he was confident the Nationals could regain the seats in the future.

"Just because they have been lost to the Labor party at this point in time certainly does not mean that we will not hold those and we will not successfully gain those in the future," he said.

Mr Vaile also said he was very disappointed that John Howard faced losing his seat of Bennelong.

"I've been a great admirer of John Howard as a public Australian figure from the days when I first began my small business through to the two years that I've just worked very closely with him as his deputy prime minister," he said.

"I'm very very confident that history will record John Howard as arguably one of the most outstanding and greatest prime ministers in Australia's history purely by virtue of the fact of the legacy that he and his government have left this country."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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