Compared: The economies Australia’s Prime Ministers inherited

Angus Kidman 16 September 2015 NEWS


Australia has had five Prime Ministers in five years – but each took power during a very different economic situation.

On Monday 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull supplanted Tony Abbott to become Australia's 29th Prime Minister (picking up an annual salary of over $500,000 in the process). Turnbull has said the Coalition must do a better job of selling its economic vision to the general public.

Whatever your views of that vision, Turnbull faces a trickier economy than his four predecessors in the role. The official cash rate and inflation rate are lower than they were when Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd became PM. The ASX 200 is higher than it was when the three previous PMs were appointed, but lower than back in 2007 when Kevin Rudd first took the job. The US dollar exchange rate and unemployment are higher than for any of the four predecessor PMs.

Prime Minister Entered office S&P/ASX 200 price Index Aussie dollar in USD Inflation rate Unemployment rate Official cash rate
Malcolm Turnbull Tuesday 15 September 2015 5207 0.7154 1.50% 6.10% 2.00%
Tony Abbott Wednesday 18 September 2013 5135 0.9355 2.20% 5.70% 2.50%
Kevin Rudd Thursday 27 June 2013 4926.6 0.9289 2.40% 5.70% 2.75%
Julia Gillard Thursday 24 June 2010 4429.7 0.8677 3.10% 5.20% 4.50%
Kevin Rudd Sunday 2 December 2007 6533.1 0.8856 2.90% 4.20% 6.75%

Source: analysis of,, Australian Bureau of Statistics data

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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