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.”

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 .

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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