The anti-siphoning scheme aims to give free-to-air broadcasters an initial opportunity to buy the television rights to major events included on the anti-siphoning list.
The scheme stops pay television broadcasters from buying the rights to events on the anti-siphoning list unless free-to-air broadcasters have purchased the rights to televise the event. The anti-siphoning list includes events the minister believes should be televised free to the general public.
Free-to-air broadcasters don’t have to buy the rights to televise events on the anti-siphoning list. Even if they do buy the rights, they don’t have to show the event live: they could broadcast the event later or not at all.
An event is automatically removed from the anti-siphoning list 26 weeks before the event is due to start.
The Minister's powers
The minister can override automatic delisting if satisfied that a free-to-air broadcaster has not had a reasonable chance to buy the rights.
The minister can also choose to add or remove events from the anti-siphoning list at any time. The list is a legislative instrument made under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
Pay TV operators
Pay TV broadcasters can acquire the television rights to an event if:
- the event is automatically removed from the anti-siphoning list
- the minister removes the event from the list
- a national broadcaster (ABC or SBS) or commercial television broadcasters with a combined audience of more than half of the Australian population has purchased the rights
- 7 days have passed since the end of the event.