Ever since the EBU tweeted that a 41st country would join us at Eurovision 2016, Eurofans have been busy speculating that it’s Australia. After all, during Eurovision 2015 Jon Ola Sand made comments that left the door wide open for Australia to return, and Australia is slated to debut at Junior Eurovision later this month. Assuming that this is the case — and that Australia, which has bags of money, will be awarded permanent member status within the EBU and therefore a place at Eurovision — will it once again receive an automatic bid to the final?

We’re glad you asked. The EBU have released the Public Rules of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest and they give the EBU plenty of wiggle room to decide whether Australia will have to endure a semi-final or advance direkt till final.

The rules state that a maximum of 26 countries will compete in the grand final, with six guaranteed places — one for the host broadcaster and the others for the Big 5 (France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom). Nothing new so far.

Then comes this line: “Subject to a decision by the EBU in consultation with the Reference Group, the number of guaranteed places in the Final may be modified depending on circumstances.”

This rule has been in place since 2011, presumably to accomodate Italy’s return to the contest. But the context has changed dramatically since then, most especially with Australia’s Eurovision debut, making this line rather important.

As you recall, Australia competed as a special guest at Eurovision 2015 with an assured spot in the final to prevent the country from taking away a spot from another country. If they are awarded a permanent spot this changes the game, and there are countless ways to interpret the above statement. One is that the EBU and the Reference Group are still debating whether Australia should have to slug it out in the semis or, if owing to its potential financial contribution, it should get an automatic berth in the final. Another theory is that Australia will compete in the semi-finals, and that the leeway provided by the above clause is meant for another surprise country. The EBU said 41 participants “so far” — perhaps Kosovo or China will join us for the party in Stockholm too?

Regardless, the thoughts of many are now focused on the Land of Kangaroos and Koalas. We’d venture a guess that the EBU is now figuring out when to make the announcement that Australia is joining us for good. We imagine they’ll announce soon. And if not, Junior Eurovision gives them the obvious time peg later this month. If Bella Paige wins — or at least slays on stage as we know she will — it gives the EBU the perfect opportunity to say something like: “As demonstrated with its recent win at Junior Eurovision, Australia has an enthusiasm for Eurovision that merits a permanent place in both contests.” EBU press team, you can bill me later.

What do you think is going on?

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stephen podesta
stephen podesta
4 years ago

I am from Australia and it makes me worry now that if Australia becomes part of the 6 permanent members we may have a backlash, so even though I was excited, I am now not, and I am ashamed of those that have posted here about Australia. We may not be part of Europe, but we have come to your aid in the last 2 great wars. Next time don’t ask for help, we wont come.

John Christian
John Christian
4 years ago

Too late. Australia will be there nest year.
The line “Subject to a decision by the EBU in consultation with the Reference Group, the number of guaranteed places in the Final may be modified depending on circumstances.” means that it will go to 27 in the Final. I think from this, Australia will be a permanent participant and an automatic finalist.

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

>Nobody? I beg to differ. … There are quite a few U.S. fans who follow Eurovision.

True, dat. There are at least a couple thousand of us. In a country with 319 million people.

Melissa J
4 years ago

I so badly want Australia to come back. They’ve shown that they are serious about the contest, and their enthusiasm for Eurovision is just so wonderful to see. But…I don’t know if I want them to qualify directly. I have thought for many years that perhaps the Big 5 directly going to the final is why the usually do so poorly when pitted against songs that viewers already know they like from the semis. I wish there was a way to do away with the Big 5 all together–I think it would actually benefit the Big 5 more if they… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@Ern: “USA — Nobody in the USA even knows what Eurovision is. No!” Nobody? I beg to differ. I’m from New York City, and I have been aware of this contest since 2006 (news about Lordi’s win, monster masks and all, made it to the national news). I started following Eurovision thoroughly since 2013. There are quite a few U.S. fans who follow Eurovision. I started following the ESC because the talent shows had become too staid and stale, having listened to the contenders sing the same songs over and over again. I must say, though, if there is any… Read more »

Hollow Inside
Hollow Inside
4 years ago

Dear Sarah,
Our continent is made of one country- Australia. Papua New Guinea and New Zealand too, if you really want to stretch the boundaries, but the former we see as a poor, dangerous, unstable place we used to administer and the latter a country of which we have a fierce rivalry with; every television franchise which tried to highlight this by pitting AUS and NZ teams against each other failed spectacularly. Pretty hard to get an ‘AUSTRALIAvision’ idea off the ground.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years ago

Österrike – to me that just a showed how much block voting there is. All of russias where from ex ussr. If Lithuania had and equally good song as Iceland Latvia would vote more for Lithuania.

Buck
Buck
4 years ago

I would love love love to see Australia back for 2016 and into the future. They take the competition seriously and have loyally embraced and supported it since the early 1980’s. Whether it be straight into the final, or a chance via the semi’s; Australia would be brilliant. Also, their population consists of people from ALL the European nations who can get behind the entrants from their home countries. And it can only be a good thing for countries like United Kingdom and Ireland. I would love to see Australia back and I would also love to see Lebanon enter… Read more »

Ern
Ern
4 years ago

Australia — most likely.

China — weird choice to be part of Eurovision. Not happening.

Kosovo — not a “real” country, but OK. It’s sufficiently autonomous. Possible.

The Faroe Islands — Part of Denmark, but more autonomous than Scotland. Possible.

Scotland — unlikely.

USA — Nobody in the USA even knows what Eurovision is. No!

Österrike
Österrike
4 years ago

The double impact of Australia in the contest and the new scoring system since 2013 destroyed Italy this year. Here is why: Result without Australia and according to voting system of 2009 to 2012 1. Sweden 344 2. Italy 326 3. Russia 293 4. Belgium 221 5. Latvia 176 6. Estonia 110 7. Norway 98 8. Israel 96 9. Albania 71 10. Armenia 63 11. Georgia 61 12. Romania 56 13. Serbia 53 14. Azerbaijan 45 15. Slovenia 42 16. Lithuania 42 17. Montenego 41 18. Greece 26 19. Poland 23 20. Cyprus 19 21. Hungary 15 22. Spain 10… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

Mei International :- Based on your reasoning, we may as well have the whole of China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil on board as well if it’s about population. That is not sensible reasoning!! Let The EUROvision remain European as per the original mandate. I agree totally with Julian. An organisation like the EBU cannot create a set of rules and adhere to their own rules. As Julian says “a mess”. How can we trust such an organisation to run a contest that is honest, fair and transparent? (Some of us who have studied the contest for several years know the… Read more »

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

“Australia’s participation probably boils down to expanded viewership (which means more advertising revenue from higher viewing figures).” Actually, no. The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t sell its own commercial time. They only have sponsorships, and most of those are by companies that don’t have any presence in Australia. Higher ratings in Australia would most likely result in higher license fees for the EBU, and perhaps more sales in licensed merchandise. But there wouldn’t be any significant increase in advertising revenue, because there are no relevant advertisements involved. Almdudler isn’t going to pay for viewers watching from a continent where there’s no… Read more »

Österrike
Österrike
4 years ago

ESC 2015 results without Australia, Final of 26 1. Sweden 349 2. Russia 306 3. Italy 303 4. Belgium 226 5. Latvia 198 6. Estonia 119 7. Norway 117 8. Israel 116 9. Georgia 62 10. Serbia 53 11. Slovenia 52 12. Montenegro 45 13. Azerbaijan 44 14. Romania 41 15. Armenia 38 16. Lithuania 35 17. Albania 34 18. Greece 27 19. Hungary 25 20. Spain 20 21. Cyprus 17 22. Poland 12 23. UK 11 24. France 5 25. Germany 4 26. Austria 3 Sweden 8x 12 points from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, UK Russia… Read more »

Julian
Julian
4 years ago

ESC has become quite a mess they do not seem to be able to make clear and fair rules.

Mei International
Mei International
4 years ago

Bar any argument about what qualifies as European, Australia’s participation probably boils down to expanded viewership (which means more advertising revenue from higher viewing figures). This totally expands the Eurovision market by 23.2 million people (which is the size of all the ex-Yugoslav countries). Obviously, Australians can watch on streams they get shown later, but having them participate means more Australian viewership and higher ratings so the EBU can profit off it. It’s called capitalism.

Kamil
Kamil
4 years ago

Even if I can admit I like Australia and its music, I will feel cheated by EBU, if Aussies join next Eurovision. The EBU statement this year was clear – one single participation in Eurovision’s anniversary.

D
D
4 years ago

Denis – It’s not that we’re simply mad because Australia isn’t European. We’re mad that the EBU is ignoring nearly all of their rules to allow a non-European nation to compete. If from day 1 back in the 1950s, the rules stated that Eurovision participation wasn’t only permitted to active EBU members and that any EBU members or affiliates could take part, then an Australian participation would be fair. It’s just that there are many countries who’ve been rejected by the EBU because they aren’t active members (namely Kosovo, Kazakhstan, and several Arab states), while Australia is allowed to do… Read more »

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

they dont pay the most to eurovision the pay the most to the ebu so the countries whos channel(s) are the richest are providing more money. this doesnt really matter when talking about the spainish economy unless the channel is owned by the government ie with the uk and bbc.

dutchie
dutchie
4 years ago

The Big 5 idea is ludicrous to begin with, especially a country like Spain which is being held afloat by EU funds shouldn’t buy its way into the Eurovision final. In that respect it makes more sense for a country that actually has the money, like Australia, to pay the big bucks. I see it as a win/win… the Aussies love it, they’re likely to send a proper song and a proper artist, they’re willing to pay for it, and it increases viewership in Australia and around the world which in turn is good for the European artists that participate.… Read more »

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

is the aussies like eurovison so much why dont they make their own one to unite their continent

Eurovision Fan
Eurovision Fan
4 years ago

Why shouldn’t Australia compete. We have more money than Spain, as cited on Wikipedia, so why not make it the Big 6? What is the hurt in letting Australia compete. We’re a country, just like you!!

Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Didn’t know there were so many butt hurt Euro-nationalists on this page. Are you really that afraid of Australia? What do you think will happen if they participate? An invasion? Destroy of your precious European culture? Didn’t know you were so uncertain about your own European identity that you fear outside factors It would make sense if they were to become part of the big countries. They have to travel far across the world to get there. And it’s expensive only to get tickets. It’s not worth all that time and effort only to end up getting stuck in the… Read more »

D
D
4 years ago

I feel like the 41st country isn’t Australia, but please it better not be. Australia bypassed nearly every rule to compete in ESC and it’s pretty disgusting that the EBU would let them do that. Countries like Kosovo and Kazakhstan would absolutely love to compete also but you don’t see the EBU letting them take part. Not to mention the fact Eurovision was created to unite EUROPE (don’t give me the BS of Israel, Armenia, etc not being in Europe, they compete in UEFA, and they’re in the European Broadcasting Area, they count). Australia is nearly the farthest place from… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Annabelle: I have removed the offending “bears”. 🙂 Let’s celebrate Australia’s unique wildlife!

Annabelle Stimpson
Annabelle Stimpson
4 years ago

Being an Australian, i hope we get to participate again OR be able to vote in all the contests.

Also please note: KOALAS ARE NOT BEARS!!!!!!! THEY ARE MARSUPIALS AND HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP TO BEARS AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!! Its a pet hate of mine when you call koalas bears

Daniel
Daniel
4 years ago

It’s clearly unfair, not just for the singers and delegates, but for us. Surely the Sepp Blater of Eurovision has seen Australia’s participation went down negatively? How to cheer us up? Invite them to JESC, and probably ESC 2016. Woohoo. I think they want Australia to compete in the final as a member of the big 5/6 so they don’t offend a DNQ country which could’ve got Australia’s place if Australia is in a semi. Well giving them an automatic spot in the final is even more unfair!! If they are participating, they should be treated as a participant. I… Read more »

Max
Max
4 years ago

Australia arent gonna fly half way around the world and spend all that money just to be eliminated in the semis.

Julia Zemiro confirmed they pay a participation fee similar to the other Big 5 countries so obviously they will be a Big country.

I really fail to understand where the confusion is coming from, other than a few Euro Nationalists resigned to the fact Australia will be in, and now trying to hope they can knock them out in the semis.

Huh
Huh
4 years ago

Australia is getting too pampered by the EBU. At least they should go back into the line like the rest of the actual European countries who are using their time, money and effort so they can manage to get a good placing in the contest and attain popularity from it.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Guys, Eugene is right – this rule isn’t anything new. It’s been part of the standard rules since ESC 2011, which I assume was added to accomodate Italy joining the automatic qualifiers. Another thing – Australia is a rich country but SBS isn’t a rich broadcaster. It’s a public service broadcaster that’s recently suffered budget cuts. I think SBS would find it almost impossible to justify paying the vast amounts needed to make it to automatic qualification. If Australia does become a permanent entrant, it would be very likely that they’d have to earn their place via the semi-finals like… Read more »

Lightning Bryce
Lightning Bryce
4 years ago

Good grief, people! The rods up your butts have rods up their butts. This is a song contest, not the United effing Nations. If Australia is willing to pay huge bucks to be in the contest, let ’em. And if they want to pay enough to be a Big 6 and only have their entry seen and listened to one night instead of two, well that’s their funeral. Lighten up, everybody. The more the merrier is what I say. And rather an enthusiastic contender like Australia that takes the contest serious as a contest than a certain Big 5 member… Read more »

Max
Max
4 years ago

@Silly Sarah

No its not

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

List of countries by GDP

1. USA
2. China
3. Japan
4. GERMANY
5. UNITED KINGDOM
6. FRANCE
7. Brazil
8. ITALY
9. India
10. RUSSIA

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

Lucario – thats what im saying. yes russia is wealthy but that doesnt mean they are giving lots of money to the ebu. plus people seem to think its who contributes the most to just eurovision which is wrong it the ebu in a whole.

max – where did you get that info from because im not talking about per capita im talking about gdp. and russia is second to germany.

Lucario
Lucario
4 years ago

Just to say the Big 5`s status isn`t based on those countries wealth & economy cause some of you seem to have that wrong. They`re based on the wealth of their TV stations, who pay triple-quadruple the amount of participation fees than all the other countries.If it was based on a countries wealth the Big 5 would look very different (e.g. Russia), but its not.

Max
Max
4 years ago

sarah hate to break it to you but Uk france and italy are all bigger economies than Russia. Spain was too until recently. Big Status is conferred upon the biggest contributors of the EBU, the contributions are worked out by economy size. So of course Australia will have Big Status if they want it and pay for it. I wouldnt be surprised if Russia was offered when they overtook Spain or sometime before/after but they probably turned it down, why pay extra to be in the final when they are always in the final anyway. Who needs money when youve… Read more »

ZanderZion
ZanderZion
4 years ago

I thought the big 5 is a commemoration to those top 5 countries whom donating huge sum of money to fund the contest and keep it runs every year? in that point what reason Australia deserves to be added? NO! its a foolish thing EBU. If its a necessity to add additional 6th slot then choose to those existing countries whom joining every year, they deserve much more. This is the reason why some countries such us Turkey wont coming back to a contest that are full of mockery.

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

YoungsterJoey same thing i have been thinking for a lond time russia is richer than all the big 5 apart from germany. however the big 5 who contributes the most to the EBU no the eurovision song contest i think only 1 channel used the ebu for the tv in russia compared to the uk which bbc, itv and channel 4 uses then and they provide loads of different channels which means more money for the ebu. thats why the bbc will never let it go because once they do they arent going to get it back again itv and… Read more »

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

might aswell let SA join and even canada but tbh if they did they would be biased to countries like the uk and the east would have no chance of winning again

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

and it unfair to the actual big 5 and the people who have to passs through the semis just makes a mockery of the whole thing

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

yayyyyyy NOT its ebu only sorry austalia im happy them coming every 5 years but every year is a no no sorry australia

Bart
Bart
4 years ago

Max,

I’m not missing out on anything, just after this article was published the news came on eurovoix posted by anthony granger that there is no 7th country possible. But you say in the new rules they declare that the amount of country’s can be altered.

I think it’s stupid to make rules, if they can be changed every moment they want.

Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Why are people even so certain it’s Australia? For all we know it might be Croatia or someone else. Just don’t assume it’s Australia cause “they did good”, “cause they are competing in JESC”, cause Jon Ola Sand/SVT/EBU wants to destroy the contest”.
Croatia competed in JESC without competing in the main event. Just because you compete in JESC doesn’t automatically mean you compete in ESC.
And just because these quotes might be true doesn’t mean it will be Australia.

marie
marie
4 years ago

I don’t agree at all.Why should Australia be automatically qualified and not others?
this country even if it really loves eurovision didn’t create it.Australia is a new country in eurovision.I’m not against another participation but in semi-finals.
Before Australia , there are countries like Netherlands , Switzerland which are present since the beginning of eurovision.

JonathanUK
JonathanUK
4 years ago

No! Bella shouldn’t win JESC, they should not return to the contest in 2016 under any circumstances as they are not part of Europe or even in the EBU’s specified area for membership. They are still not even a full member therefore should not join. If in the event that they do return to the contest in 2016, which I think is unlikely even though Jon Ola Sand and the EBU have flirted with the idea for over a year now, they should be forced to get full membership and they MUST participate in the Semi Finals. The Big 5… Read more »

khm
khm
4 years ago

GOSH NO! Why is Australia more special than an European country that withdrew few years ago, like BIH or Croatia!?

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

by ‘when it was announced’ I mean last year when their debut was revealed, which just goes to show that Australia’s entire journey here has been so annoyingly predictable

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

also I called this happening as soon as it was announced
the legitimacy of the contest is doomed

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

NO

AUSTRALIANS
PLEASE

GET
OUT

Sparrow
Sparrow
4 years ago

As far as I’m concerned since Jon Ola Sand came into action the voting was changed, the producers decide the Grand finale line up, they announce the winner before all the results are awarded (which is so disrespectful to the countries left to give their votes) and then this whole bullsh*t with Australia.
The quality of the music may be improving but the contest is going downhill fast!

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@Ron: Allowing Australia to compete is one thing; and they acquitted themselves extremely well this past May. But to give them permanent exempt-from-semis status beyond their debut appearance is another; and the negative reaction from many here is completely justified when you consider that it is not a European country. Again, what’s to stop them from packing the Big 6 or 7 with other non-Euro guests, thereby possibly turning it into a Big 10 or Big 11?

PP
PP
4 years ago

EBU and reference group for Eurovision (most members from nordick and almost all from western countries) ruin Eurovision tradition with invite Australia at Eurovision as guest 2015.