Today's Birthday 18/4

Elise Donaldson
AAP

Today's birthday, April 18: Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Mark Vaile (1956 - )

Mark Vaile spent 15 years as a federal parliamentarian, including three as deputy prime minister under the Howard government.

He was born in Sydney in 1956 and worked as a farm machinery retailer and a real estate agent before entering politics.

From 1985 to 1993 Vaile served on the Greater Taree City Council and was deputy mayor for three years.

He became a member of the House of Representatives when he won the seat of Lyne in NSW at the 1993 election.

His early parliamentary and ministerial appointments included the national party whip, minister for transport and regional development, and minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

In July 1999, Vaile was elected the National party's deputy leader following the resignation of Tim Fischer. When John Anderson resigned in 2005, Vaile was elected leader unopposed.

He was sworn in as deputy prime minister in July 2005 and was also made trade minister.

As trade minister, Vaile was involved in the negotiation of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. He faced criticism over the agreement's chapter on copyright and over the access to essential medicines.

He also faced scrutiny for his handling of the AWB kickbacks scandal and Australia's worsening trade performance. This eventually led him to switch portfolios with Warren Truss and become minister for transport and regional services in 2006.

Following the coalition's defeat at the 2007 federal election, Vaile resigned from his position as Nationals leader and moved to the backbench.

A year later he announced his resignation from parliament.

Since leaving politics in 2008 he has embarked on a career in the private sector and sits on a number of boards as a director or chairman.

Some of his key appointments include chairman and non-executive director of Whitehaven Coal and non-executive director of Hostplus Superfund.

In 2012 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to parliament.

Vaile is married with three children and lives on a rural property outside Taree in NSW.