Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Rudd says IMF report highlights Australia's s -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The ABCs North America correspondent Michael Rowland is in New York, where the Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd is talking to political and business leaders.

He joins us now.

Michael , what did Mr Rudd have to say about this IMF report?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Eleanor, not surprisingly he's leapt on this report, saying from his point of view
it shows just how strong the Australian economy is in comparison to other economies, particularly
the struggling American economy.

He says it underscores the strength of Australia's budgetary position, the fact that Australia
boasts a $22-billion surplus, he argues the, that that enable us to withstand with much greater
strength the pressures, the winds buffeting the world financial system at the moment.

And he also says that it really does show that there's an independent voice there underscoring what
he's been arguing all along since this financial crisis erupted, that Australia was less exposed to
those so-called sub-prime mortgage assets that have caused so much problems in the US financial
system and that Australia has a much stronger regulatory structure that has prevented some of the
missteps that have been made by the big investment banks here.

Here's a bit of what Mr Rudd had to say about the Australian banking system and the IMF report.

KEVIN RUDD: In relation to the state of the Australian banks, and their balance sheets, the
International Monetary Fund, is not given to casual views, they have conducted an analysis of the
state of the Australian economy and the elements of it and their conclusions are there in black and
white.

And the IMF has delivered a very strong, positive report card on Australia and on the robustness of
our regulators, strength of our banks and our ability to see our way through this global economic
downturn.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in New York.

Michael, Mr Rudd has been meeting financial representatives in the city, what's he said about those
discussions?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: He said it was good in that it gave him for the first time since this latest bout
of market instability erupted, a first-hand account of how bad the situation was and more
importantly what the likelihood was of Australia being affected.

He sat down here in New York, with representatives of banks, including Macquarie, Goldman Sachs and
UBS and he emerged from those meetings fairly upbeat, he said that he was even more encouraged
about the state of the Australian financial system and in particular even more encouraged about the
soundness and the robustness of banking balance sheets in Australia.

Of course there have been serious question marks raised about the liquidity in the balance sheets
of all sorts of banks in America, he has now said after those talks that he's even more confident
that Australia can withstand this current economic storm.

ELEANOR HALL: Did he express a view about the debate that's going on in the US Congress about this
$700-billion bailout package?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: He did, he appealed to both Democrats and Republicans to, in his words, "act
decisively" to get this massive bailout package through congress without delay.

He said it was not just a problem affecting the US, he says the global financial system was being
affected and as a result Australia's economy was undoubtedly going to be impacted by the events
that have been taking place on Wall Street over the last eight, over the last week or so.

He also was asked about this plan to extend the bailout to foreign banks that have operations in
the US, and in the answer that you will hear Eleanor he appeared to leave the door open to
Australian banks getting some form of assistance as a result of this $700-billion bailout.

Here's what he had to say in response to that question.

KEVIN RUDD: In terms of the content of the $700-billion proposal from the secretary of the United
States Treasury, our own Treasury and our own central bank are currently in discussions with their
American counterparts on the full and final detail of this package and how it will be implemented.

We will reserve further comment to that, I have already said that we welcome this package, we think
it's a good and strong measure from the US administration at a time when the global financial
markets are under considerable stress.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in New York, and our correspondent Michael
Rowland talking to us there.