The World: Insider's View - Australia

Throwing money at the average Aussie will not prevent economic strife, whereas a reminder of what it means to be an Australian could do the trick.

Leaders all over the world are busy injecting trillions of dollars into the economy in a bid to increase consumption and "rescue" it - and Australia is no different.

The Government gave pensioners and people with young families a $1,000 early Christmas present with a request to go out and spend wildly. Now it is offering a further $12.7 billion in cash handouts.

How much of it will actually get spent in the shops versus salted away for the rainy days that will surely follow, no-one knows. However, anecdotal feedback and public sentiment on radio chat shows suggests the rainy day option won out.

This is not really surprising because the Australian way of life was never about consumption and greed. It is based on hard work, having a fair go and living a full life, taking advantage of all the riches that the natural environment in this country offers. Tall poppies are not revered here.

In a recent essay, the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has suggested that maybe the past 30 years are proof that the "free" market economy can't be free. It is fuelled by greed, not "mateship", family and caring for each other - still strong Australian values. He's likely to receive a positive response from the "average" person.

Even before the credit crunch hit, people were bemoaning the erosion of Aussie values and the slow creep of consumption and the supersize, from meals to TVs and from houses to cars - so the strategy of consume more to save the economy is not finding fertile ground.

After the worried reaction to the current crisis, a more interesting possibility is presenting itself.

For the first time in nearly a decade, young couples who have been struggling to get on the property ladder can now take advantage of falling interest rates and higher first home buyer grants to get on the first rung - a return to the Aussie dream of raising a family in your own home.

People are downsizing, rethinking excess and trading in the big overseas holidays for camping and rediscovering Australia.

Tall poppies are being cut down, especially in the financial sector and it's seen as no bad thing by the average Aussie. Australia has always got through crises with creativity, entrepreneurship and humour. An increase in the first home buyers grant, investment in infrastucture, revamping the education system and encouraging entrepreneurship are the value creation strategies that are appearing on the agenda.

In a strange, albeit philosophical, way, the global financial crisis might be the saving of Australia. A return to a simpler way of life and a reminder of the values that make this country a great place to be.

- William Leach is a former chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Australia and a partner of The Leach Partnership in New South Wales.