Jun 7, 2007

A Day at the Budget

Everybody has a budget. Including Queensland. This Tuesday gone, I had the great - erm - pleasure of being assigned to cover the handing down of the Beattie government's 10th "financial blueprint".

It turned out to be a somewhat embarrassing day - if you read my previous post you'd know Deputy Premier and Treasurer Anna Bligh knocked over my microphone, and I was stuck at a table behind journos and cameras unable to retrieve and right it. Luckily I had brought my camera along, so I am now able to present to you the whole story - in pictures!

This is the media room, which is just off the gallery level of the parliamentary chamber. It's quite old. You can picture hard-nosed, chain-smoking political journos crashing away at typewriters, only opening their mouths long enough to shove in another Marlboro. Sometimes you can even smell the old cigarette smoke.

This is my official work station. It's in a small cubby-like area, just beyond the gallery door. I share this cubby with the AAP journo, and we take it in turns to get angry at our respective computers (mine's a laptop, you can see my giant satchel bag in the foreground).

It may not look that organised, but believe me, there's a very complex system in operation here. No, really.

Inside the hothouse that is budget lock-up. Lock-up gives the impression there'll be alcohol, doesn't it? Sadly, coffee and crustless sandwiches were our only sustenance. I think the three smartly-dressed folks in the foreground are QUT students. I know that because they're always dressed better than me.

Her Bligh-ness! After two hours of reading and thoughtful consideration of the government's economic data ("what does 'expenditure'? mean again?"), Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh grace us with a lock-up media conference. I am currently sitting behind the giant stack of budget documents. It is while I am farting about taking these photos that Ms Bligh knocks my mic over. Premier Pete is being concealed by journalists in this shot.

Here you can see two interesting things. The first is my mic, resting horizontally on the little side-table, where Premier Pete put it because I couldn't get out from behind my table to fix it.

The second is the large brown blur in the bottom left-hand corner. That is in fact the head of Channel Nine political reporter Spencer Jolly. Spencer was sitting next to me during lock-up. When I said excitedly "Hello, Spencer, this is my first budget!", he replied, "God bless you", and proceeded to give me some good advice about finding useful information amongst the giant stack. Thanks, Spencer!

After this I headed back to my cubby to begin the long afternoon slog of churning out budget stories. Hence the lack of photographic action from this time on. The budget itself was handed down in parliament at 2:30pm, so thanks to the lock-up - and Spencer Jolly's advice - I was able to get enough of a handle on things before official reporting could begin from 3pm (all information in the budget is embargoed until it's tabled in the house).

Radio is challenging when it comes to budgets, as you obviously can't include everything, and you have to think about keeping the listeners' interested in what could potentially be "boring political stuff". Still, I felt fairly confident with my budget work - and the best reward was coming home to find Greg had cooked me an lovely spaghetti bolognese. He's actually been cooking for me all week while I've been at parliament, which has been just amazing. All I do is sit on my butt all day listening to politicians rabbit on, but I couldn't be more exhausted had I just scaled Mt Everest on ice-skates while giving Kim Beazley a piggyback. Now that's tired.


  1. Hey Natalie

    I liked your portrayl (I hope I spelt it right) of a day as a Media Commentator in State Parliament. :) Gotta Love Channel 9 reporters, including the legendary Spencer Jolly!

    Overall, the post is interesting with bits of enthusiasm from Natalie, and some lovely pics, and you gotta love the 4BC microphone on the table..hopefully it will be given it's own spinoff sitcom show :)

    Now it is hoped that Natalie will be following it up with a "Day in the Life of Natalie" (with pictures of course)

    Overall, I give Natalie's post 5 Stars!!!

  2. Hi Natalie:

    You also like to wear pink underpants? Cool. haha.

    I came upon your link at Clumsy Mommy. Please consider taking part in a meme which asks the participants to reveal seven little-known facts about themselves.

    I'm working on mine and will soon post it. Thanks.

  3. Oops, I meant that I came to you by way of Comic Mummy.

  4. Michael - thanks for your five-star review. Now I feel like I'm Michelin rated. Which is ironic when you consider I resemble the Michelin Man in physique. ;)

    Willow - hello! Welcome to the World of GirlClumsy. It's messy, so watch your step. I may reply to your meme thingy - I've never actually done one of those things.

    I also notice Comic Mummy has nominated me as a blog that makes her think, or something like that. You're supposed to respond with five blogs. I don't think I actually read that many blogs, so I don't know how I'll answer that one! Maybe I can just put Jenny's down four times, and the Big Weird podcast down for the fifth. ;)