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The Budget Lockup

Every year when the Federal Budget is delivered, journalists and media outlets are given the opportunity to peruse the Budget for several hours prior to its public release.

This is done under strict conditions of secrecy in what is known as the “lockup”. What follows is a press release from the Treasurer, Peter Costello, outlining the details of the lockup for the 2001-02 Budget delivered on May 22, 2001.

Crest TREASURER Press Release

NO.023

2001-2002 Budget – Media Lockup Arrangements

The Treasurer will deliver the 2001-2002 Budget at 7.30 pm AEST on Tuesday 22 May 2001. The usual lockup arrangements will again be available for media organisations and will be centralised in Canberra, based in the main Committee Room area in Parliament House. The lockup will begin at 1.30 pm AEST and conclude when the Treasurer begins his Speech.

As usual, security considerations are paramount in the lockup arrangements. To obtain entry to the lockup, media representatives must sign and have witnessed by a Treasury official the necessary ‘Form of Undertaking’. Attendees will be required to produce proof of their bona fides as an employee of a media organisation prior to signing the Undertaking and thereupon will gain entry to the lockup. A copy of the Undertaking format is attached for information.

Any breach in the letter and spirit of the Undertaking and in the use of the lockup facility will be regarded most seriously. Your particular attention is drawn to the fact that breaches of the terms of the Undertaking may be in contravention of section 79(3) of the Crimes Act 1914, a copy of which is also attached.

Note also that an important requirement of the Form of Undertaking stipulates that Budget information is not to be broadcast by any media outlets before the Treasurer conveys it to Parliament.

NO PROVISION FOR ENTRY CAN BE MADE FOR OTHER GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS.

As in past years, arrangements may be made for secure landlines to group headquarters of approved major print organisations for SUB-EDITING PURPOSES ONLY. Entry to these sub-lockups is restricted to sub-editorial staff only – JOURNALISTS ARE NOT PERMITTED. These arrangements involve the establishment of a secure area on the news organisations’ premises which is supervised by Commonwealth staff for the duration of the Canberra lockup. Any communication between the Canberra lockup and the sub-lockups will require security encryption – absolutely no transmission will take place without encryption.

As usual, participating organisations will bear the full cost of the arrangements.

The Budget Speech and other major documents (including the Budget Overview and Economic Outlook) will be electronically available at the lockup. The electronic version can be saved on disk in any available format. Prior arrangements are to be made with Treasury as shown below.

By 4 May 2001 (at the latest): would you please provide:

Peter Coan, (Manager, Liaison Treasury) on tel. (02) 6263 3736, fax (02) 6263 2992 or email peter.coan@treasury.gov.au
with:

  • a full list of the organisation’s employees’ names and positions seeking access; and

Matt Osmond (Facilities Manager, Voice Comms. Treasury) on (02)6263 3863 or (02)6263 2869 (fax) with:

  • All secure data, voice or fax lines requirements.

General

A plan of the Committee Rooms with designated space allocation will be displayed in the Press Gallery several days before the lockup. Due to the limited space available in Parliament House, organisations should restrict their representation to minimum, essential employees only.

Please be advised that all lockups will be conducted in a non-smoking environment.

Parliament House regulations also do not permit the bringing of alcohol into the lockup area.

You are reminded of the terms and conditions for entry to the Budget lockups. We particularly remind prospective attendees that:

CELLULAR/DIGITAL TELEPHONES, PAGERS OR HANDSETS OR ANY OTHER UNAPPROVED EQUIPMENT THAT IS CAPABLE OF TRANSMITTING A SIGNAL ARE NOT ALLOWED WITHIN THE LOCKUP.

Storage facilities for such equipment will be available at the lockup entrance. There will be no contact outside the lockup other than with the use of approved secure communication links. As mentioned above, any breach of the undertaking will be regarded most seriously.

Copies of the Budget and associated documents will be on sale at all Government Book Shops at 7.30 pm (AEST) on Tuesday 22 May 2001. Information will also be on the Internet (www.budget.gov.au) at 7.30 pm.

Any general questions relating to the lockups should be directed to Peter Coan or Brian Daly at Treasury on (02)6263 3736 or(02)6263 2794, respectively.

NIKI SAVVA

MEDIA ADVISER TO THE TREASURER

PETER COAN

MANAGER, LIAISON (TSY)

CANBERRA

6 April 2001

********

 

FORM OF UNDERTAKING

I,
……………………………………………………………….

(Print Full Name)

of
……………………………………………………………….

(Print Full Address)

a representative of………………………………………………………….

(Print Full Name of Media Organisation)

 

and deriving the main component of my income in the media industry, accept the courtesies extended to me in relation to early perusal of the (YEAR) Budget Speech and related documents in full understanding of the conditions under which they are offered.

These are that I will not:

(i) allow the documents or their content or any part thereof made available to me to find their way into hands other than those of my principals and my immediate assistants before 7.30pm AEST on Tuesday DATE; or

(ii) make or permit any publication, written or by other means, of any facts, statements, opinions or the like contained in the Budget Speech or related documents, prior to the Treasurer commencing the delivery of the Budget on the night of Tuesday DATE, with the exception that radio and television stations may broadcast progress news bulletins (as distinct from commentary) provided that none of the contents of the Budget is revealed until the Treasurer himself has conveyed it to the Parliament or otherwise disseminated its contents; or

(iii) bring into the lockup cellular/digital telephone equipment or any other equipment capable of transmitting information to outside the lockup other than that specifically approved by the Department of the Treasury or its authorised agents.

I understand that in return for being afforded early access to the Budget Speech and related documents, it is my duty to treat all such documents and the information they contain as secret until 7.30 pm AEST on DATE I further understand that if, before that time, I communicate any such document or information to any person other than my principals or immediate assistants who are authorised to participate in the lockup, I shall render myself liable to criminal proceedings.

I have read this Undertaking and section 79(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 ( a copy of which is reproduced overleaf)

and I have taken reasonable steps to ensure that my principals are made fully aware of these conditions.

Signed:
………………………………..

Witness:
………………………………..

Date:

EXTRACT FROM CRIMES ACT 1914

‘Official Secrets…

79.(3) If a person communicates … prescribed information, to a person, other than:

(a) a person to whom he is authorised to communicate it; or

(b) a person to whom it is, in the interest of the Commonwealth or a part of the Queen’s dominions, his duty to communicate it;

or permits a person, other than a person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b), to have access to it, he shall be guilty of an offence.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.’

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