Student publications disallowed from budget lock-up

By William Ton | @williamhton

University student newspapers have been locked out of the upcoming federal Budget lock-up in Parliament House with the government citing a lack of room.

A Budget lock-up happens every year where the government allows journalists exclusive access to the Federal Budget upon its release.

Journalists are ‘locked up’ in a room for nearly eight hours where they can write news stories, speak to politicians about the policies but are forbidden from any contact with the outside world. This includes no mobile phones and internet.

This year, student publications Farrago (Melbourne), Grapeshot (Macquarie), Honi Soit (Sydney), Pelican (UWA), Tharunka (UNSW), Vertigo (UTS), Et Cetera and Woroni (ANU) had their requests for spots in the May 8 lock-up denied, with Scott Morrison’s office citing a lack of room as the reason for the decision.

“Due to space restrictions, the lock-up is limited to professional news publications only,” it said in an email to Woroni.

The eight publications slammed the Treasurer’s decision to disallow them a place in the lock-up in an open letter, saying the government’s ban would stop young people from having a voice in the discussion.

“It’s a weak excuse for the government to say that they can’t find enough space for a couple more chairs, when they do manage to find enough space for large camera crews to produce comedy routines inside the building,” the letter read.

“Young people at least deserve the respect to be able to examine the government’s policy.”

Student publications were also banned from participating in the lock-up in 2017 even though they were previously allowed to attend in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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