Greens Slam Albanese Government's Sports Streaming Bill

The Australian Greens criticize the Albanese Government's anti-siphoning Bill, arguing it fails to guarantee free access to popular sports on digital devices. The Bill, expected to pass the House of Representatives, aims to ensure free-to-air channels are accessible on new devices and significant sporting events remain free.

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Greens Slam Albanese Government's Sports Streaming Bill

Greens Slam Albanese Government's Sports Streaming Bill

The Australian Greens have strongly criticized the Albanese Government's anti, streaming Bill, which they argue fails to guarantee free access to popular sports on digital devices for millions of Australians. The Bill, expected to pass the House of Representatives today, aims to ensure free-to-air channels are accessible on new devices and that significant sporting events remain free. However, the Greens contend that it does not go far enough in protecting sports from being locked behind paywalls.

Why this matters: This bill has significant implications for the accessibility of sports in Australia, potentially affecting millions of people who rely on digital devices for entertainment. If passed without amendments, it could set a precedent for the commercialization of public events, further limiting access to essential services and cultural experiences.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young voiced the Greens' concerns, stating, "While everyone is focused on the budget today, the Government is about to pass a piece of legislation in the House that will lock sport behind a paywall." She emphasized that Australians should not need a credit card or paid subscription to watch iconic events like the Boxing Day Test, arguing, "It's not fair, it's not cricket, and it needs to be fixed."

The Greens are calling for changes to the Bill to ensure that access to sports like football, cricket, soccer, and netball remains free across digital devices. They argue that it should not matter whether people use an aerial or the internet to watch Australia's favorite sports – they should be freely available to all.

Senator Jacqui Lambie has also calls, federal, government, proposed, changes, ant the government's proposed changes, calling them a "big problem." She stressed that all Australians have a right to "see what is free" and should not have to pay for a subscription to watch Australian sports. Lambie suggested that the Bill should require free broadcast and digital streaming rights be offered to a free-to-air broadcaster before a company like Netflix or Amazon could acquire the rights to a sports event.

Executives from free-to-air networks Seven, Nine, and Ten have launched an advertising campaign, "Free Sport Is On The Line," to lobby for amendments to the Bill. They are urging the government to apply the prominence framework retrospectively, ensuring that free streaming services like ABC iview, SBS, 7plus, and 9Now remain easily accessible on smart TVs.

The Bill will now head to the Senate, where its support is uncertain without significant changes to address the Greens' concerns. An estimated 4 million Australians rely on the internet for free TV, and the Greens argue that the Albanese Government's Bill prioritizes the interests of media companies like Foxtel and Kayo over those of the Australian public. As Senator Hanson-Young warned, "When you're sitting at home on Boxing Day and you want to watch the Boxing Day Test, you'll be blaming Albo for blocking your ability to watch the sport you love."

Key Takeaways

  • Australian Greens criticize anti-siphoning Bill for not guaranteeing free access to popular sports on digital devices.
  • Bill aims to ensure free-to-air channels are accessible on new devices, but Greens argue it doesn't go far enough.
  • Greens want changes to ensure access to sports like football, cricket, and netball remains free across digital devices.
  • Senator Jacqui Lambie also opposes the Bill, calling for free broadcast and digital streaming rights for free-to-air broadcasters.
  • Bill's support is uncertain in the Senate without significant changes to address Greens' concerns.