Compared: the economies Australia’s Prime Ministers inherited

Angus Kidman 16 September 2015


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 MinisterEntered officeS&P/ASX 200 price IndexAussie dollar in USDInflation rateUnemployment rateOfficial cash rate
Malcolm TurnbullTuesday 15 September 201552070.71541.50%6.10%2.00%
Tony AbbottWednesday 18 September 201351350.93552.20%5.70%2.50%
Kevin RuddThursday 27 June 20134926.60.92892.40%5.70%2.75%
Julia GillardThursday 24 June 20104429.70.86773.10%5.20%4.50%
Kevin RuddSunday 2 December 20076533.10.88562.90%4.20%6.75%

Source: analysis of,, Australian Bureau of Statistics data

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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