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Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2005

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(Circulated by authority of Senator the Hon. Helen Coonan,

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)







The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2004 (the Bill) amends the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) to extend the automatic de-listing period for events on the ‘anti-siphoning’ list so that events are removed 12 weeks prior to their commencement. 


The BSA contains provisions which prevent subscription television broadcasting (pay TV) licensees from acquiring exclusive broadcast rights to events, the televising of which the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts considers should be available free to the general public.  Subsection 115(1) of the Act empowers the Minister, by notice published in the Gazette , to specify an event, or events of a kind, the televising of which should in the opinion of the Minister be available free to the general public.  Pay TV licensees must not acquire broadcast rights to a listed event unless free to air broadcasters have previously acquired broadcast rights to that event (paragraph 10(1)(e) of Schedule 2 of the BSA).  The Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2004 specifies a list of events in accordance with subsection 115(1) of the Act.  This is known as the anti-siphoning list. 


At present, events on the anti-siphoning list are automatically removed from the list six weeks prior to the commencement of the event, unless the Minister stops this automatic delisting by a declaration published in the Gazette (see subsections 115(1AA) and (1AB) of the BSA). 


Where no free-to-air broadcaster is interested in acquiring the rights to an event on the anti-siphoning list, the automatic delisting of the event six weeks before it occurs has proved to allow insufficient time for pay television operators to acquire the rights, finalise program schedules, negotiate advertising contracts and promote the event.  Extending this period to 12 weeks will provide additional certainty to industry.





The Bill is not expected to have a significant financial impact on Commonwealth expenditure or revenue.





Clause 1 - Short title


Clause 1 provides for the citation of the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) Act 2004 (the Act).


Clause 2 - Commencement


Clause 2 of the Bill provides that the Act commences on the day after Royal Assent. 


Clause 3 - Schedule(s)


By virtue of this clause, provisions of the BSA are amended as set out in the Schedule to the Bill.


Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992


Item 1 - Subsection 115(1AA)


Item 1 amends subsection 115(1AA) to extend the automatic delisting period from 1,008 hours (six weeks) prior to the start of an event to 2,016 hours (12 weeks) prior to its start. 


Item 2 - Effect of item 1


Item 2 clarifies the application of item 1, and provides a transitional rule in relation to events that start within 12 weeks after commencement.


Subitem 2(1) removes any question that the new 12-week automatic delisting period will apply to all events on the anti-siphoning list which have not already been either automatically delisted under the current six-week rule, or expressly delisted by the Minister under subsection 115(2) of the BSA.  The new 12-week automatic delisting period applies both to events on the list at the time of commencement of item 1, and to events added at a later time. 


However, subitem 2(2) provides a transitional rule in relation to events that are on the anti-siphoning list at the commencement of item 1 and that start during the first 12 weeks after that item’s commencement.  Because of the current six-week automatic delisting rule, subitem 2(2) will only apply to such events that start between six and 12 weeks after commencement (provided the Minister has not taken action under subsection 115(1AA) of the BSA to override automatic delisting).  The effect of sub-item 2(2) is that events of this kind are delisted upon commencement of item 1. 


The following table summarises the relevant automatic delisting dates for events on the anti-siphoning list.


Start Date for Event


Automatic Delisting Date

More than 12 weeks after commencement


12 weeks prior to the start date.


Less than 12 weeks after commencement, but more than 6 weeks after commencement



 Less than 6 weeks after commencement

Events of this kind would have been subject to the existing automatic delisting provisions (subsections 115(1AA) and (1B) of the BSA), and are not affected by the amendments.