Federal Member For Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications

Shadow Minister for Communications – Transcript, ABC News Afternoon Briefing with Greg Jennett – Banning Gambling Advertising During Live Sport, TPG-Telstra Deal Decision, Australia Post Modernisation Review

Subject: Banning Gambling Advertising During Live Sport, TPG-Telstra Deal Decision, Australia Post Modernisation Review

Greg Jennett: We touched briefly a little earlier on the issue of gambling advertising on television with the observation that there are a few moving parts in debate here in the Parliament. The Government is taking some interest. So is the Opposition and clearly the Greens are too. The Shadow Communications Minister, David Coleman, joins us in the studio now. Welcome back, David. We did see the spectacle, rather unusual, in the Senate today of the Greens and the Coalition combining to try and make a move towards some sort of ban. I think you’re more restricted in your ambition than the Greens. But where is the Parliament going to land and when do you think, on something meaningful in this area?

David Coleman: Well, look, we’re looking for a vote on this tomorrow on our bill and basically what our bill does is say no gambling advertising during live sport at all. No ifs, no buts, from an hour before the game, till an hour after. Because unfortunately, we’ve got a generation of kids who are growing up and hearing the message that gambling and sport are inextricably linked. And that’s wrong. It shouldn’t be like that, and that’s why Peter Dutton made that announcement in the Budget Reply because footy time should be family time.

Greg Jennett: Is this just a race to get there first, though? Does it not seem inevitable that the Government itself will come, fully backed by the resources of departments and drafters to come up with something a bit more holistic, if you like?

David Coleman: Well, the Government is moving at a glacial pace on this, Greg, and Minister Rowland, if it’s mobile black spot funding for Labor electorates, it’s the speed of light. If it’s gambling advertising, it’s a slow-mo replay. So basically, the Government’s not doing anything. And so, we will step up where we think there is a need to do so, and this is clearly the case. Kids shouldn’t be talking about what odds is Dale Cherry-Evans to kick a goal. They should be talking about, who’s going to win State of Origin, and it’s a really important difference.

Greg Jennett: And what’s the research that’s gone into the window of ban that you are favouring, one hour before, during the match, one hour after? Why is that the sweet spot.

David Coleman: We want to capture the build-up to the game. In fact, State of Origin tonight is a good example, where often in that build up to the game you get a cross to the betting guy, maybe 10-15 minutes before, effectively as part of the broadcast. We don’t want that to happen. We think it’s wrong. And sometimes after the game as well, you get a bit of a post-game analysis, which has gambling advertising, we think that’s wrong too. And we don’t want it in half-time breaks either. There’s analysis but there’s also principle and the principle here is very clear. This is really wrong. And we’re over it. I think Australia’s over it, and it’s got to stop. And that’s why we want the Senate to support this bill.

Greg Jennett: If you were unsuccessful, and if the Government came back with something that was even more expansive, covered a greater period of time, more sports, more matches. Would you support something or are you saying this is about the limit of our interest?

David Coleman: Look, obviously we would consider anything that the Government brought forward. I mean, our policy is clear in relation to live sport. And we think this is the single most egregious issue within gambling advertising. Because when you think about it, the times when families come together are less than they used to be. But live sport is still one of those occasions. So, it’s really precious and you want those memories to be happy memories, not memories about gambling companies.

Greg Jennett: So, let’s see what happens in the Parliament tomorrow. A couple of quick ones to sweep up. TPG, Telstra, the Competition Tribunal has rejected a deal for those two companies to share mobile phone towers, especially in regional areas. If that sticks what would its effect the on competition and services in regional Australia?

David Coleman: Yeah, well, look, I’m a bit reluctant to weigh in too much on that Greg because there is a possibility of an appeal. As a general principle, competition is good. And effectively what the commission has, or the Tribunal has said is that this could have the effect of lessening competition. But there is the prospect of appeals and so on. And so, I don’t think it’s really appropriate for me to weigh in to that one too much.

Greg Jennett: I understand, but if it stood, you’d still end up with an effective duopoly situation, wouldn’t you? It’s Telstra and Optus.

David Coleman: It’s not quite a duopoly, because you obviously have TPG and Vodafone that are active in the market as well. But the debate here is about whether this particular proposal substantially lessens competition. And that’s what the tribunal ruled on today.

Greg Jennett: All right, and very quickly, and finally, the Australia Post review, we think it’s coming close to an end. Did the Coalition make submissions to that?

David Coleman: We didn’t make a submission, but we made our points very clear at the outset of the review, which is we will fight tooth and nail to protect the regional Australia Post network. Those Australia Post licensees around the country are often the absolute backbone of those towns. It’s not just about post, it’s about banking, it’s about all the other services. Labor was very quick, very much on the front foot in criticizing any change to Australia Post. And if they come out with changes to the regional network, they’ll have a massive fight on their hands.

Greg Jennett: All right, noted. David Coleman, we’ll be talking about that in the future when the review comes out, I guess. Thanks so much for joining us today.

The Hon. David Coleman MP
Shadow Minister for Communications
Federal Member for Banks