Despite the hundreds of well-argued, well-reasoned, intelligent (and often very witty) emails sent by Crikey readers to Treasury official Ray Gavin yesterday, the ban on Crikey attending the buget lock-up remains in place. And when we called Gavin this morning to see it it was possible to work out a sensible solution, we were told, in essence, to get stuffed.
When asked why a daily ezine and website read by thousands of politicians, political staffers and journalists – and tens of thousands of thoughtful Australians – could not be given a single place in a lock-up where some daily papers send thirty or more reporters, Gavin said the lock-up was for “mainstream publications to meet their deadlines” – rejecting Crikey’s even tighter deadline to produce our 8.30pm budget summary.
Gavin told Crikey today that the plan is to keep the budget-lockup to “a historic attendance.” So basically anyone who’s been allowed in in the past will get a go, and there’s no room left for anyone new.
After a few minutes of fruitless argument Gavin told us to “take it up with the Treasurer’s office. In the end it’s their decision.”
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We emailed Peter Costello’s office yesterday and phoned today, but so far without response.
So let’s flex our muscles a bit more and see if we still live in a democracy. Crikey readers who want to express a view about the ban to an even higher authority than “Mr Mainstream”, Ray Gavin, should email Peter Costello’s media advisor, David Alexander, at [email protected] .
And you can have a look at some of the emails subscribers have already sent on the website here .