Gayle has a strong connection with rural and regional communities, having completed primary and secondary education at rural schools.
Apart from being an advocate for regional infrastructure and employment, Gayle is also a strong supporter of environmental sustainability, gender representation, social inclusion and community development.
Gayle studied politics and Asian Studies at Flinders University.
She was the first woman to become a State Secretary of the Vehicle Division of the traditionally male-dominated Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, serving in this role from 1993 to 2006, and also as the Federal President from 2000 to 2006.
Gayle also served on the Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 2000 to 2006.
Since 2006, Gayle has represented Western Victoria in the Victorian Legislative Council.
Currently, Gayle serves as Minister for Skills and TAFE, and Minister for Regional Development.