Wayne Swan tells of Coast holiday crisis
WAYNE Swan was sitting in his car in the middle of Cotton Tree at 6.30am, enjoying his summer holiday break, when he took the call.
He had been expecting it.
The then federal treasurer had been woken earlier with the news that US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson wanted to talk.
Not wanting to wake his family, Mr Swan drove down to the Cotton Tree News Agency to pick up the papers, determining that the conversation would be best had in the privacy of his car.
The rain was bucketing down and there was no chance that he would be surfing that day.
A global financial crisis was in full swing and the decisions Mr Swan was to make would affect every Australian.
"I remember thinking at the time about the experiences of my late parents during the Depression," he writes in his latest book, The Good Fight: Six Years, Two Prime Ministers and Staring Down the Great Recession.
"I was determined to do everything in my power to avoid the same sort of community destruction people felt back then."
Mr Swan, born and schooled in Nambour, said he was proud that the Sunshine Coast had taken centre stage in the book.
"It would be hard for it not to," he said.
Detail of that Christmas holiday is central to the book. In the space of a moment, Mr Swan went from chasing waves to working late into the night on Australia's response to the crisis.
"This was no ordinary summer break and it turned out to be no ordinary call,'' he wrote.
"The Coast in January has long been a place of personal refuge for me.
"The glorious surf there makes me feel a million miles away from the Canberra cauldron.
"Here is where my deepest thinking occurs, where my body and mind are the healthiest.
"In short, despite not having lived there for 40 years, it remains home in the most spiritual sense of the word."
Published by Allen & Unwin, The Good Fight is billed as a highly personal account of the Rudd and Gillard governments from the centre of cabinet and the real story of how Australia avoided the Great Recession.