Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has evoked a Shakespearean war cry as he continues to warn Australians about the effects of the global financial crisis.
Speaking in Hobart, his latest stop on a week-long Australia Day tour, Mr Rudd said the nation must steel itself for more pain.
Several times he implored Australians to step “into the breach” against the crisis, evoking William Shakespeare\’s King Henry V: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead!”.
Mr Rudd stopped a ceremonial Australia Day barbecue with his speech.
\’Most troubled years\’
“We are embarking upon what may be one of the most troubled years of our age,” he said.
“As we look around the world, we see the unfolding events of the global economic crisis. These are grave, these are broad, these are deep forces.”
Meanwhile, Mr Rudd says the federal government has a strategy and a course of action to preserve jobs, in response to union calls for a jobs summit.
ACTU president Sharan Burrow on Thursday said there was a need for an urgent summit on building jobs.
She said employers, unions and governments should sit in a room and see what ideas they can come up with to counter the expected loss of up to 250,000 jobs this year because of the financial crisis.
Spending for \’job creation\’
But, Mr Rudd told reporters in Hobart: “We have a strategy for dealing with the challenge (of job losses).
“It\’s going to be tough, it\’s going to be hard, and it\’s not going to be perfect.
“It\’s a huge world out there, which is washing over Australia, but our strategy and our course of action is clear.”
Mr Rudd the government was spending $36 billion to create tens of thousands of jobs, helping business to retain and invest in employees and doing everything it can, in cooperation with community, to support the jobless.