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Full interview: Journalist and author George Megalogenis

Journalist and author George Megalogenis says Australia has its economic guard down.

Mr Megalogenis has argued in a Quarterly Essay that we need to have a Plan B for when China’s economy slows down.

‘The only thing that’s kept us going in the last few years is people borrowing to buy investment properties,’ he told Tom Elliott on Tuesday.

But now is the time to stimulate the economy.

‘We’ll never be able to borrow at a cheaper rate than today,’ Mr Megalogenis said.

‘Interest rates are a bit above zero in the US, they’re negative in Japan, and they’re zero in Europe.

‘If we can’t find projects that generate a rate of return above the rate that we borrow, we’re not even serious.’

Mr Megalogenis said politicians playing a short-term game is harmful to the country.

He said personality clashes and reacting to polls matter now, in contrast to yesteryear.

‘Those are things that, in the old world, didn’t really matter because the system was anchored in either a serious reform exercise or in a nation-building exercise.

‘We’ve got none of that now.

‘The only thing that will really calm down the electorate is a sense that the government is thinking for the long term.’ 

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