I’m back on deck, sort of, after the Budget lockup in Canberra on Tuesday. The event was quite an experience, though maybe not one I’d choose to do every year. It started with a scrum in one of the big halls in Parliament House where the assembled journos +me gathered to await our chance to look at the Budget paper. Then we were sorted into committee rooms, some equipped with elaborate preinstalled computer networks (AAP for example) and some with one power cord for two computers (Crikey!).
I expected the assembled Treasury officials would provide some sort of briefing, but those looking after the lockup rooms were fairly junior people from outside the Budget branch, who had been drafted in to hand out papers, stop errant economists from drifting outside the boundaries of the lockup area and so on.
The big break in the day was Swan’s press conference, attended by lots of ministers and some senior Treasury guys and economic advisers some of whom I’ve met in various capacities over the years, and others I know only as voices on the phone or email contacts.
Then it was back to typing a bunch of analyses which went up on the Crikey website, and which I’ll repost here when I got a chance. After we were released from the lockup, a somewhat anarchic vodcast, and then it was finally time* for a drink or two in a Kingston bar I remember fondly as the old Boot and Flogger.
Since I don’t do a lot in the way of networking, I’ll namecheck some of the people I met on the day or durign the evening: Michelle Grattan, Tim Colebatch, David Gruen, Guy Rundle, Bob Ellis and Don Henry.
I got back yesterday with a significant sleep deficit and a cold, so I didn’t do much except relax. But no rest for the wicked and I’m now back to work looking at the options (lots of them unappealing) for the Queensland state budget in a month’s time.
* Careful viewers will note that Guy Rundle got in ahead of the official start on thsi.