Malcolm Turnbull Address To The Nation

The Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, today responded to the Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation. He offered support for the government’s package of stimulus measures.

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This is the text of Malcolm Turnbull’s Address to the Nation:

In these difficult and uncertain times, many Australians have been asking how a booming global economy suddenly found itself in very stormy waters.

We all want to know what this means for our country, our families, our jobs.

The financial crisis started when banks in America made trillions of dollars of housing loans to people far too many of whom could not afford to repay them.

This reckless lending fuelled a housing bubble and of course, so long as house prices kept going up, everyone was happy.

But when the bubble burst, these sub-prime loans went bad too. But by then, they had contaminated hundreds of banks around the world, many of which went broke.

Our own banks were much less affected than most – thanks to good regulation our lending practices have been far more prudent. But nobody is immune and money has become more expensive and harder to obtain for banks and for their customers.

With the benefit of hindsight, Governments should have acted a lot earlier.

Regrettably, Mr Rudd’s Government missed the warning signs at the beginning of the year and talked up inflation, and consequently interest rates, at precisely the wrong time.

Nonetheless, we have offered to work in a bipartisan way with the Government in responding to this crisis. I am disappointed that Mr Rudd has rejected our offer.

But that does not lessen our resolve to support what is in Australia’s best interests and build on the Coalition’s record of making long term, and often tough, decisions to protect our economic security.

We have advocated increased guarantees for bank deposits, additional payments to pensioners and further investment in the mortgage market. We were pleased to see Mr Rudd take this action.

When it comes to economic management in Government or Opposition, the Coalition’s values are the same – taxpayers’ money is your money, it must be managed responsibly and in the national interest.

We recognise that our economy is slowing and we have given support to the Government’s $10 billion stimulus package.

But just as Australian families are careful in the way they manage their budget, so the Australian Government must take great care not to squander the savings from a decade of responsible financial management.

That is why we have asked Mr Rudd to share with the Australian people the economic advice he has received which convinced him that the $10 billion package was not larger than was needed and will not reduce the ability of the Reserve Bank to keep cutting interest rates.

That is why we are concerned to ensure that safeguards are put in place so that Government guarantees offered to banks do not result in taxpayers picking up the tab for bank losses.

We will continue to make constructive proposals to protect and strengthen our economy to help all of us through this crisis.

And above all, we believe that the energy, the enterprise and the optimism of 21 million Australians will ensure that while we are in the midst of this storm and will get wet, we will not sink.