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Second reading, Broadcasting Services Amendment (Ban on gambling advertisements during live sport) Bill 2023

The coalition have introduced the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Ban on Gambling Advertisements During Live Sport) Bill because we believe the time has come to draw a line in the sand and put an end to gambling advertisements during live sport. Footy time is family time, and family time is precious—too precious to have it swamped by a rising tide of gambling ads. Watching and listening to live sport is a great Australian tradition, and we on this side of the chamber want to preserve that. The bombardment of betting ads takes joy away from that tradition. We know that because that’s exactly what the community are telling us. We are listening and we are responding with this bill.

The community are over this. We in the coalition are over this. As representatives of our communities we are beholden to act on their behalf. The time to act is now. That is why the coalition are taking strong steps to implement a ban on gambling advertising during live sport. We know that there is a problem. We are not going to wait for months, as the government has been signalling. We are not going to sit on our hands.

The Prime Minister says he finds the ads annoying. He’s probably a bit annoyed too that the coalition are once again providing leadership on this issue. We’ve seen reporting that several government sources have said that, while no decisions have yet been taken, the Leader of the Opposition’s move has wrong-footed them. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whose idea it was, a good policy is a good policy and should be supported. It would be petulant to quibble over whose idea it was first. It would be even more disappointing if this bill were not supported today in this chamber because of petty politics.

Labor is hiding behind the parliamentary inquiry, which it says is due to hand down its report in the middle of the year. One suspects they’ll try to rush it out sooner, given they’ve been left behind on this issue. But there is nothing stopping the government supporting this bill now today. The community want it and they expect their representatives to act. This is the second set of reforms from the coalition to limit the running of gambling advertisements during live sport. In 2018, the coalition government passed a significant body of reforms in this area, limiting when and where gambling ads could be placed during live sport. We have acted before and we are taking strong action again.

The actions set out in this bill are straightforward. They require minor amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The changes would require industry codes of practice to be updated to incorporate the ban. There are industry codes which apply to the different sectors within the media, including for commercial television, commercial radio and subscription broadcast television. Online content is regulated separately, and the changes in this bill ensure that live streaming is also captured by the gambling advertising ban. Our bill allows for a transition period for the change. The minister would be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the industry transitions over to the new regime. The ban would commence one hour before the scheduled start of a match and end one hour after its conclusion. It would apply to television, radio broadcasting and live streaming of sporting events. This bill makes no changes to the existing exemptions on gambling advertising which apply to the broadcasting or live streaming of horse racing or other racing codes or to the advertisements or promotions for government lotteries, lotto, Keno or contests.

In conclusion, we reiterate that footy time is family time. The coalition believes that it is wrong in principle that children are subjected to gambling advertising when they just want to enjoy a sporting event with their families. This bill would put an end to that. I urge all senators to support this important legislation.

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