This is a momentous and historic decision and we respect the wishes of the British people, expressed through this referendum. I want to say that Australians, I recognise, will be concerned by the uncertainty and instability in global markets, falls in currencies, including the Australian dollar and in equity markets.
It is important to remember that the Australian economy is strong and resilient and has weathered global shocks before and weathered them well.
I have no doubt that in due course, the British Government will negotiate a satisfactory departure from the European Union. This could take several years. In the meantime I have no doubt that our relations with the United Kingdom, which are as close as any two nations' relations could be, will continue as positively and intimately as ever.
Equally, with Europe, we have been negotiating a European Free Trade Agreement, we have built strong ties with the countries of continental Europe, in particular France and Germany. I'm very confident that our negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union will continue.
So there is no cause for Australians to be alarmed by these developments. However, there will be a period of uncertainty and some instability in global markets. I've no doubt that European leaders will provide reassurance and leadership that will in due course, settle many if not all of those uncertainties.
In the meantime, I remind Australians that given that we are living in a world of great opportunities but also great challenges and uncertainties, now more than ever Australia needs a stable majority Coalition Government with a strong economic plan that sets Australia up for a prosperous future, to take advantage of those opportunities and resiliently meet the challenges and the headwinds that we cannot always anticipate and that we cannot always influence but they will always be there.
A strong majority Government, a strong economic plan - that is what Australia needs in these times of opportunity and as we have seen, uncertainty.
Prime Minister, would there be any direct consequences for the Australian markets or Australian trade deals? Can you see any concerns there?
The impact on Australia immediately, directly, from a legal point of view, will be very limited because it will take some years for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, to negotiate an exit. However, we've seen already large falls on stock markets and there will be a degree of uncertainty for some time. We have to recognise that the global recovery is, in some parts of the world, fragile. So this uncertainty plays into that environment. But I have no doubt - as I said - that our very strong and intimate relations with the United Kingdom will be entirely unaffected and our very strong relations with Europe, with continental Europe, which are leading towards negotiations to a Free Trade Agreement will also continue. We have enhanced our relations with the major continental European economies in recent years, in particular of course Germany and France.
You also just mentioned that it is very important now that Australia has a strong, stable government, you have got a very strong economic plan. Does this decision play into the hands of the Coalition's election campaign?
I've made the point many times that we do live in times of great opportunity. These are extraordinary times of unprecedented economic change in both the scale and pace of change. The opportunities are enormous but also there are challenges and risks over which we have no control. These are the global headwinds of which I've often spoken.
We need strong majority Government, strong Coalition leadership. We need a strong economic plan. We have that, we've set that out. We've set out our plan that will deliver and is delivering today, economic growth and stronger employment. It's delivering jobs and growth. We need that resilience, that competitiveness, that innovation, that productivity. All of the features, all of the characteristics that our plan is supporting are vitally necessary now more than ever.
But above all we need stability, we need a strong majority Coalition Government to deliver Australians the economic leadership that they need and they deserve in these times of both opportunity and of risk.