NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Prime Minister's address to the nation

Here's what he said at 6.30pm:

"Today I announced a $10.4 billion economic security strategy to help see Australia through the global financial crisis.

Many Australians have become concerned, anxious and even fearful as to the future.

The truth is that we are going through the worst financial crisis in our lifetime. I’ve described it as the economic equivalent of a national security crisis.

More than 25 banks around the world have failed, or been bailed out.

But here in Australia, we have among the best regulated banks, with the best balance sheets, in the world.

And they were rated last week as coming equal second out of 134 banking systems worldwide.

Nonetheless, as Prime Minister, I was not prepared to stand idly by while people’s fears here were being fed by the stream of bad economic news from abroad.

That’s why the Government took decisive action on Sunday to guarantee all depositors and all deposits in all Australian banks, building societies and credit unions, for the next three years.

My first responsibility as Prime Minister is to take whatever action is necessary to maintain the stability of Australia’s financial system.

And I will continue to exercise that responsibility.

In the last few weeks, the global financial crisis has moved into a new and dangerous stage.

And that is its effect on the real economy, on growth and jobs, around the world and here in Australia.

Growth will slow, and unemployment will rise. That’s why the Government today announced this $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy to support continued positive growth in the national economy, and to provide practical help to households as well.

This strategy is designed to help pensioners, carers and families, and first home buyers.

The Government believes in long term planning. That’s why we set aside a $22 billion surplus earlier this year in the Budget, as a buffer against tough times.

Those tough times have now arrived.

And that’s why we’ve decided to take decisive action today with this Economic Security Strategy. And we’ll build on it soon with the Government’s nation building agenda, to build the infrastructure Australia needs for the future.

History tells us that when the economy slows, responsible governments step in to strengthen growth. And that is what we have done by using the surplus.

As Prime Minister, it is my job to level with the Australian people. I don’t intend to guild the lily. There will be tough times ahead.

But the Government remains determined to take whatever action is necessary in the future to steer the economy through this global financial crisis.

And I have absolute confidence that as a nation, we will get through these tough times together."