Budget night is a big night in Canberra, and the Treasurer’s speech is really just a sideshow. After the budget was picked over, turned inside out and upside down by journos, thoughts moved to the next point of business — eating and drinking. The scribes at Fairfax and The West Australian packed out Portia’s, with the Crikey team joining a table of the country’s leading online media outlets, breaking bread with BuzzFeed, New Matilda and The New Daily.

The guest list at The Australian‘s dinner was a touch different, with former prime minister Tony Abbott turning up for a drink. Abbott’s former deputy Julie Bishop also arrived at the Oz‘s shindig, which we hear was “awkward”. After dinner it seemed that every staffer and journo in the city had packed the Public Bar, with a brutal fight to the bar. Senator Sam Dastyari was seen holding court with First Dog on the Moon, while new Senator James Paterson was surrounded by his mates from the IPA. New North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman was also in attendance. When your correspondent left well after 2am, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young could be seen still kicking on.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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