Tuesday, 23 May 2023
AN () (): Sport is central part of Australian culture—playing it and watching it. For many families, watching sport on TV is one of the main times that they all come together. That's always been true, but it's even more true today. With everyone on their own devices, doing their own thing, it can be hard to get the whole family together. Watching sport does bring us together across the generations, and that shared experience is precious. That time, footy time, should be family time.
Sport should be about the players and the fans, but now it's hard to watch a sporting event without being bombarded by gambling ads. What are the odds on the home team winning? What is the multi paying on Tom Trbojevic to score a try and Manly to win by 12-plus? How much can you win if Tom Hawkins kicks five goals? There is nothing wrong with people placing bets on these things if they want to—I've been known to have a bet myself—but families shouldn't have to wade through a barrage of gambling ads just to watch a game. Kids should be thinking about why they love their favourite player, not what odds he is to be the top pointscorer. The deluge of gambling advertising in live sport is damaging our culture. Simply put, it's wrong. It is not okay. I am over it, and Australian families are over it.
As Leader of the Opposition announced in his budget reply speech, a coalition government would ban gambling advertising in live sport from one hour before the start of the game until one hour after. No ifs, no buts, no gambling ads during the lead-up to the game, during the game or after the game. This would mean that families could once again watch live sport without having to worry about gambling. But what is the government doing about this crucial issue? The short answer is: nothing. This issue goes right back to Labor's last time in office, because it was a High Court case involving Betfair in 2008 which unleashed a tsunami of gambling advertising. This case held that states couldn't stop a gambling company that was lawfully registered in one state from operating in another. The torrent of advertising started then, but Labor did nothing between 2008 and 2013. In 2017, our government took substantial action to reduce gambling advertising in live sport. We now believe that we need to move to a complete ban. Unlike Labor, which has not acted once on this issue, we have now acted twice to cut gambling advertising in live sport.
The Minister for Communications likes to say that she can't act because she is waiting for a parliamentary inquiry to publish a report, but what is so complicated about this issue? It's very simple. Should families be subjected to gambling advertising during live sport or not? We say they should not be. The Minister for Communications doesn't seem to know. But she should embrace this policy. It doesn't matter whose idea it is; what matters is that this gets done. By adopting the coalition's policy, the government would be taking an important step forward. The government should take action and stop gambling advertising before, during and after live sport. It is the right thing to do for Australian families.