Anti-siphoning laws in Australia
|This article is outdated. (March 2011)|
Anti-siphoning laws in Australia regulate the media companies' access to significant sporting events. In 1992, when the country experienced growth in paid-subscription media, the Parliament of Australia enacted the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 that gave free-to-air broadcasters essentially first refusal to certain sporting event broadcasting rights. The anti-siphoning list is a list of events, the televising of which should, in the opinion of the relevant Minister, be available free to the general public. To effect this 'freedom', the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 includes a licence condition on pay TV providers that prohibits them from acquiring anti-siphoning events unless a national broadcaster or a network of commercial television broadcasters have the right to televise the events. This prohibition drops away a certain period before the event starts. The current anti-siphoning rules also prohibit national television broadcasters and commercial television broadcasters from premiering listed events on digital multi-channels. Listed events may be shown on digital multi-schannel if they have already been broadcast, or are simultaneously broadcast on the broadcasters main (core/primary) channel.
The anti-siphoning list came into effect in 2006. The relevant Minister has the power to add, amend or remove events from the list. Currently, only sporting events are listed, even though the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 does not limit the types of events that can be listed. There are currently ten sport types (e.g. Tennis, Soccer, Rugby League) on the anti-siphoning list plus the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Events on the anti-siphoning list are delisted 12 weeks before they start to ensure pay TV broadcasters have reasonable access to listed events, if free-to-air broadcasters decide not to purchase the broadcast rights for a particular event. Any rights to listed sporting events that are not acquired by free-to-air broadcasters are available to pay TV. Before the end of 2009, the Federal Government conducted a review of the anti-siphoning scheme, with the Minister proposing changes to the scheme. These changes can not come into effect until amending legislation is passed through the Australian Parliament.
The most accurate and up to date anti-siphoning list is available on the comlaw website  Generally, the following events are anti-siphoning events:
- Olympic Games
- Each event held as part of the Olympic Games.
- Commonwealth Games
- Each event held as part of the Commonwealth Games.
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
- Each test match involving the senior Australian representative team played in Australia.
- Each test match between the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia and the senior English representative team, played in Australia or the United Kingdom.
- Each one day cricket match involving the senior Australian representative team played in Australia.
- Each Twenty20 cricket match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia played in Australia.
- Each match in the semi‑finals and the final of the International Cricket Council One Day International World Cup Cricket World Cup.
- Each match of the International Cricket Council One Day International World Cup involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia.
- The final of the International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup.
- Each match of the International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia.
- Association Football
- English Football Association Cup Final.
- Each match of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup tournament.FIFA World Cup tournament.
- Each match in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup Qualification tournament involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the Football Federation Australia.
- The Australian Open.
- Wimbledon Men's and Women's singles quarter‑finals, semi‑finals and finals.
- US Open men’s and women’s singles quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.
- Each rubber in each tie in the Davis Cup involving the Australia team. (Note that the women's equivalent, the Fed Cup, is not covered.)
- Each international match involving the senior Australian representative team, played in Australia or New Zealand.
- The semi-final of the Netball World Championships if it involves the senior Australian representative team.
- The final of the Netball World Championships if it involves the senior Australian representative team.
- Section 115 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
- Paragraph 10(1)(e) of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992
- These decisions must be notified in the Gazette and laid before each House of Parliament. The decision will come into effect if no motion of disallowance has been moved within 15 sitting days in either House.
- Westfield, Mark (2000). The gatekeepers: the global media battle to control Australia's pay TV. Pluto Press Australia. ISBN 978-1-871204-19-3.
- Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Commonwealth Consolidated Acts. Retrieved 2010-05-15.