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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1409


Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (15:12): My question is also to the Minister for Communications, Senator Fifield. Can the minister update the Senate on the commencement of new gambling advertising rules relating to television and radio?

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (15:13): I'm very pleased to advise colleagues that the Turnbull government's new rules on gambling advertising in live sport will commence on 30 March. These new rules, as you would know, Mr President, will significantly enhance the existing restrictions on gambling advertising, with a particular focus on live sport in children's hours.

Last week, the Australian Communications and Media Authority registered the three revised broadcasting codes of practice to give effect to the new rules on free-to-air television, subscription TV and commercial radio. These new restrictions were announced last year as part of our comprehensive and holistic media reform package, and the government asked broadcasters to implement them voluntarily through amendments to their codes of practice. Revised codes were released for public consultation late last year, and ACMA has worked closely with the broadcasting peak bodies to achieve registration of codes in time for commencement at the end of this month. I do want to take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank Free TV Australia, Commercial Radio Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association for working constructively with ACMA to draft and implement these new rules. SBS, for their part, will implement their own code to implement the restrictions and have advised the government that they will observe the new rules from 30 March.

These new restrictions will establish a clear safe zone for parents and carers so that families can have confidence that children won't be exposed to gambling advertising during live sport broadcasts in children's hours.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a supplementary question.

Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (15:14): On that, I wonder if the minister could tell us how the new rules will work to establish that clear safe zone for parents and carers watching live sports?

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (15:15): The new restrictions will mean that gambling promotions will be further restricted in live sport broadcasts between the hours of 5 am and 8.30 pm. No advertising will be permitted during these hours from five minutes before the start of play until five minutes after play has concluded. For example, if you're sitting down to watch Carlton versus the Gold Coast Suns—which isn't something I would personally do, Mr President—with the first bounce due at 1.45 pm on Saturday, 31 March, you will know that there will be absolutely no gambling advertising broadcast from 1.40 pm until five minutes after the match has concluded.

The new rules are in addition to the existing rules put in place under the previous government that safeguard against the promotion of betting odds by commentators, and they do establish a very clear set of rules which create a safe zone for children watching live sport.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a final supplementary question.

Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (15:16): What is the government doing to apply gambling advertising restrictions to online platforms?

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (15:16): Colleagues will be aware that the government promised to have new gambling advertising rules in place for broadcast television and radio by the end of March, and this commitment has been delivered. But we're also keen to futureproof the system for a world in which online services with live sport content not covered by broadcasting codes become more prevalent. We have legislation before the Senate currently to enable ACMA to make rules to apply the same or similar restrictions to online platforms as soon as practicable. Whilst online live streams of sport today typically are simulcast from a commercial broadcaster, applying rules to online service providers will futureproof the system to ensure that gambling advertising safeguards are in place across all platforms.

I do want to acknowledge, as I touched on before, that the Gillard government did put some restrictions on live betting odds, and we are happy to be in a position to further progress gambling ad restrictions.

Senator Cormann: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.