SBS Advertising Flexibility Bill 2017

Labor opposed the Government’s attempt to increase advertising limits on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in 2015 and will oppose it again in 2017.

Labor knows that the SBS needs a strong commitment from Government – not greater commercialisation. 

The Turnbull Government recently resurrected its plan to increase the amount of advertising on the SBS. Malcolm Turnbull wants SBS to double the amount of advertising it runs in prime time, up from 5 minutes to 10 minutes per hour, within the daily limit of 120 minutes each day. He also wants them to be able to pursue product placement in all programs.

This move from Malcolm Turnbull all comes down to covering up the Government’s broken promise before the 2013 election.

The night before that election, Tony Abbott categorically promised there would be no cuts to the SBS.  But at the earliest opportunity he cut SBS funding by $53.7 million over five years in the 2014-15 Budget, of which $25.2 million were direct cuts.

SBS viewers should not have to watch more ads during their favourite shows to make up for Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull’s lies.

We must be vigilant in preventing the Liberal-National Coalition from turning SBS into another commercial broadcaster by stealth.

The risk is that increasing the amount of advertising in prime time viewing hours may encourage SBS to prioritise commercial revenue at the expense of its Charter obligations and unique role as our nation’s ethnic broadcaster.

SBS has previously said that if it cannot raise more money from advertising this may impact on its programs and services.

According to the latest SBS Annual Report, the organisation is performing well with increasing audiences and interest across its TV channels, radio stations and websites despite the best efforts of the Turnbull Government to harm it by slashing its funding.

This proves that SBS deserves to be properly funded, and not undermined with a shortfall in funding, so it can continue this great work.

Labor opposes the Turnbull Government’s attempt to undermine the unique purpose and nature of the SBS.