Federal Budget Night is a highlight on our editorial calendar as our expert team reports on taxation and superannuation changes– and what this means for Australians and our political landscape. This year our cracker team of editors are preparing for another Federal Budget – and the Budget lock-up, high-pressure review and writing process and careful planning that goes along with this.
We spoke to Wolters Kluwer CCH Federal Budget Content team leader, Jackie White, about how the team navigate the rules and deliver the goods.
What’s involved in the Budget lock-up?
The Budget lock-up is by far the most pressure we face as an editorial team every year. You can think of it as a high-pressure cook-off. There are plenty of people waiting to get in to the kitchen, a mad rush for the ingredients – in this case the stock pile of Budget papers – and it’s straight to the bench to start to read the recipe, understand the steps you need to take and cook.
Can anyone be in the room?
Everyone that is in the Budget lock-up room is part of a publishing house, whether that’s a news outlet or professional content publisher like Wolters Kluwer. And there are processes in place to keep everything top secret whilst we are working. We all sign forms to comply with the official secrets requirements under the Crimes Act not to leak any information before 730PM and we take that seriously as the punishment is two years jail. No phones allowed!
What’s it like to be the first eyes across the Federal Budget?
It’s a huge task for the 9-person team to review the Budget papers, the Treasurer’s Speech, and other associated government explanations and press releases. Last year we also had a quick chat with Federal Treasurer, Hon Scott Morrison MP.
What do you expect in this year’s Federal Budget?
Many of the tax measure are often foreshadowed in the lead up to the Budget, but occasionally there are surprises. This year we expect to be quite busy as tax is likely to feature significantly in policy debates and the upcoming election. This will make it an interesting night particularly for our CCH Parliament team whose job it is cover the extensive responses to the Budget from all political players.
How do Wolters Kluwer clients benefit from the Budget lock-up process?
The Wolters Kluwer CCH Federal Budget Content Team focuses on tax and super measures for our tax and accounting clients and it is a factual reporting of the changes outlined in the Budget papers. Our job is to write fast, meticulously check what we have written and cross check everything to make sure there are no errors. Once we are finished our document wings its way to Sydney at 730PM to be shared across our website, our publishing system for different customer segments, as well as the Budget Highlights Report for our accounting customers to use with their own client base. It’s quite a complex web of content and distribution.
Concurrently, our CCH Parliament team writes a broader paper for Political Alerts clients, summarising budget outcomes, economic forecasts and major initiatives and impacts, including implications for different industries and demographics.
What happens at the end of the Budget lock-up?
At 730PM the bell rings and we hit send as Scott Morrison begins his Budget speech in the House of Reps. For the next five minutes we check to make sure our documents have been received, our team picks up laptops, bags and phones on the way out and the room empties like we have never been there.
2018-19 Federal Budget Team L-R: Diana Winfield – Head of Content, Tax, Accounting & Superannuation, Jackie White – Regional Editorial Advocate, Karen Bang – Senior Writer, Tax & Accounting, Mary Zachariah – Content Manager, Tax & Accounting, Ben Miller – Senior Writer, CCH iQ, Michael Anderson – Operations Manager, CCH Parliament, Cindy Chan – Senior Tax Writer, Lucy Stone – Editorial Manager, CCH Parliament, Ed Carr – Senior Tax Editor.