Covering the Federal Budget for Crikey

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Joy (I think). I’m part of Crikey‘s commentary team for Australia’s 2008 Federal Budget to be announced tonight at 7.30pm Sydney time. It’s the first budget for Chairman Rudd’s Labor government, and the first for treasurer Wayne Swan, so it’s bound to interesting.

My role — at least as I understand it, ‘cos I haven’t actually spoken with my editor yet — is to look at it from a geek perspective. That’ll include, I imagine, issues I’ve previously covered for Crikey: Internet censorship, the ABC’s move into Internet TV, social media, the national broadband network…

But what else should I look out for?

When I asked on the Link mailing list, here’s a partial list of the suggestions I got:

  • Functional separation of Telstra into wholesale / retail / pay TV entities.
  • The laptops for schools program — what hardware? networking? training? maintenance?
  • Copyrights & patents, including government-funded enforcement of music copyrights — something the music industry has been lobbying for.
  • Assistance for IT startups, both hardware and software.

I’m also wondering just how forward-looking the budget will be. The brain cells are already firing. What can you add to the list?

5 Replies to “Covering the Federal Budget for Crikey”

  1. 1. ABC and SBS funding — probably no extra funding but may be some surprises? (we can only hope)

    2. Digital TV switchover campaign funding

    3. Any major changes in funding for (The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy)

  2. Telstra would be a surprise, unless they really want to scare the business community; not a good headline

    Look out for future fund financing of environmental infrastructure

    Bionic eye — keep flogging that dead horse!

    Broadband for remote indig communities — and plonk in some arts funding as well

    massive bloody log filters on everything so that every byte you up or down load gets appended to your asio file; outsourced to google and ignoring robots.txt

    a total review of defence tech — again arts funding for the performance that Nelson will have to give when called to face Senate Estimates

    throw in some nanotech?

    depoliticisation of the ARC and the NHMRC perhaps? Give the AHMRC some better funding?

    An “information ombudsman”??

    sigh; and then he wakes up. Same-same, but different.

  3. Tom Worthington has sent me links to his reports on most federal budgets since 1996. Interesting reading!

    1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002 2004 2005 2006 2007

    @Neerav and @bernard: Ta for the additions. Crikey‘s media correspondent will probably cover any ABC/SBS issues, and of course anything to do with Telstra is major news and will be covered by their political and business writers. Plenty of things to search for though!

  4. Government-funding for the music biz? Yougottabekiddingme? Well, I suppose we prop up car multinationals and giant mining corps, so they’ve got form.

    Structural separation of Telstra is a must. They’ve done it in the UK and now, surprise surprise, broadband is widespread and fairly reasonably priced. BT, their Telstra, actually goes out of its way to provide a good service to its wholesale customers.

  5. I want to know what provisions have been made for Julie Bishop’s hair spray budget? It must have been an awful drain on the government’s accounts. JULIE, SACRIFICE YOUR HAIR FOR AUSTRALIA’S INFLATION.

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