Big Brother Australia Housemate Rules
Rules inside the house – last revised in 2005
There are ten basic rules regarding life inside the BB house. For the housemates, these rules are set out in their simplest terms below followed by edited details regarding each rule. In agreeing to take part in BB, the housemates agree to abide by the rules 24/7 with no exceptions. Failure to do so could result in the prize money being reduced through “fines” of $5000 or more for example for each offence and/or early eviction.
- There is no contact with the outside world.
- The housemates are filmed 24 hours a day and must wear personal microphones at all times.
- The Diary Room is the only place in the house where BB will acknowledge the housemates. Visits to the Diary Room are compulsory.
- Each week the housemates will be required to go to the Diary Room and nominate two people for eviction and/or two people to stay; for the former they must provide honest but concise reasons for their nominations (ie: how the reason affects their experience).
The housemates are not permitted to discuss their nominations, or try to influence anyone else’s nominations.
- The public will decide who is evicted unless otherwise directed (ie: housemates may vote out an intruder if the opportunity is provided or BB may ask a housemate to leave where warranted – see next rule).
- If any housemate breaks the rules they may be asked to leave the house.
- Housemates may not intimidate, threaten or act violently towards any other housemate.
- Tasks are compulsory but individuals may be permitted to refrain from participating where health or other reasons are accepted by BB.
- BB reserves the right to change the rules at any time and often does.
1. The outside world
While the contestants are in the house they will have no contact with the outside world. BB will never discuss with participants how they are shown on television, how they are represented in other forms of media or anything else that has happened in the outside world.
The housemates are not permitted to make any attempts to communicate personal messages with the outside world by any means (this includes verbal, written messages or symbols). They cannot make any attempt to communicate personal messages to the outside world when they know that BB is broadcasting live.
If any objects appear in the garden housemates must not touch or inspect them unless instructed to do so. If people appear in the garden housemates MUST NOT communicate with them. In the event of any of these events occurring all housemates must make their way immediately inside and close the doors, even if not specifically asked to do so.
2. Microphones and cameras
It is strictly against the rules for any housemate to interfere for any reason with the camera or sound equipment installed in the house and garden.
It is compulsory for the housemates to wear a personal microphone at all times except when they are asleep in bed, taking a bath or shower or using the swimming pool, sauna or spa where provided.
Housemates will be asked to change the microphone batteries twice each day. Radio microphones can be taken off while sleeping but they must be placed in the spaces provided by the beds. There are microphones positioned above the beds.
Big Brother will not broadcast images from the toilet on the television or internet unless it is being used for purposes other than those for which it was designed. For example, images of two people talking in the toilet may be broadcast.
It is against the rules to try and locate and/or acknowledge cameras through the mirrors. It is also against the rules to discuss camera positions. Nothing must be placed in front of mirrors to impede camera coverage. Housemates are forbidden to move vases and bowls and any other decorative items. No furniture can be moved from one part of the house to another. Housemates are forbidden to hang towels anywhere in the House except on the heated towel rails in the bathroom.
3. Diary Room
A room is provided for the housemates to share their experiences with BB. This is an important part of the program, and it is therefore compulsory for all contestants to go to the Diary Room when requested by BB.
Big Brother can call individual Housemates to the Diary Room at any time. Housemates must come when called, failure to do so or responding in an offensive manner to Big Brother may result in disqualification and early eviction.
The Diary Room is a place where housemates make their private nominations in countries where the show does this (unlike ones where they nominate face-to-face), and where they can vent their frustrations or share their concerns and feelings in a place that other housemates will not overhear them. BB will never share any information given in the Diary Room with other housemates and housemates should feel free to talk privately to BB at any time, night or day.
Images of live conversations in the Diary Room will not be streamed on the internet or television unless the Diary Room is being used as an integral part of a task.
Housemates may not wear sunglasses or hats in the Diary Room.
Occasionally housemates may need minor medical treatment. On these occasions professionals will usually treat them in the Diary Room. It is prohibited to try and seek information about the outside world from these professionals. If a housemate is having a consultation with the counsellor or psychologist (either at their request or at the suggestion of Big Brother) then this conversation will be confidential. It will not be recorded and members of the production team will not be able to hear or see the consultation.
4. Nominations and evictions
The people who enter the BB house do so voluntarily. However, for security reasons the front door(s) are remotely locked. Occupants leave the house in one of three ways. They may be evicted, they can leave of their own free will (either by escaping which is not encouraged or by asking to leave), or they may be required to leave by BB. Once an occupant leaves, for whatever reason, they forfeit any claim to the prize money and cannot return unless asked to briefly by BB.
The normal way for housemates to leave the house will be through the nomination and eviction process. Every week, in the Diary Room, each housemate must nominate two fellow contestants for eviction, giving honest reasons for their choices. If any housemate is deemed not to be providing a valid reason for nominating a fellow housemate, a formal warning or some sort of “punishment” will be issued.
If a housemate persists in giving invalid reasons for their nominations they may be asked to leave the BB house (usually three strikes and you’re out) and be replaced with a standby housemate.
Nominations will normally take place on a Monday afternoon or evening (in the Australian BB house) but times and days of nomination may be changed without notice.
Public voting for eviction will take place using phone lines, interactive television and SMS messaging and via the official website in some countries.
Before any housemate leaves the house, BB will speak to them in the Diary Room to give them further information about their departure. A debriefing session will follow an eviction.
5. Discussion of nominations (collusion)
In countries where face-to-face nominations are not allowed, participants may not discuss their nominations with each other either before or after they have taken place. BB will take any attempt to break these rules very seriously as it is a key principle of BB that the housemates’ nominations must be their own choice and must not be influenced by the other housemates.
Discussion that could be interpreted as collusion includes:
Any discussion with another Housemate that could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to influence their nominations.
Predicting or guessing who may be nominated or evicted.
Discussing the reasons Housemates might use for nominating.
Discussing the type of person Housemates are thinking of nominating.
6. Banned discussion topics in the house
There are plenty of obvious topics that housemates should not discuss (that may be subject to censorship) as well as others (that are totally banned) and these include:
Housemates may not discuss any previous series of Big Brother – either Australian or international – or former Housemates – either Australian or international – with any other housemate.
Housemates are forbidden to discuss their plans for the prize money. Under no circumstances may any of the housemates discuss how they intend to spend the prize money should they win it. In particular, any pacts to share or split the prize money between housemates are against the rules and may result in the prize money being withdrawn altogether.
Housemates may not discuss any aspect of the audition process or any person they met during the auditions or at any other time during pre-production or in Lockdown.
7. Voluntarily leaving the house
No one will be held in the BB house against his or her will. If they wish to leave, the housemates must go to the Diary Room, giving their full and frank reasons for leaving. If an occupant leaves the house, that is the end. Once outside you cannot go back unless otherwise directed by BB (this rarely happens but has in some countries).
8. Being asked to leave the house
BB may ask any housemate to leave the house if they behave inappropriately while in the house. Inappropriate behaviour would include, for example:
Behaving in a way that could cause offence to either their fellow inhabitants or members of the viewing public.
Violent or abusive behaviour or an attempt to intimidate any other housemate (physically or verbally). If a housemate behaves in this way, and refuses the requests of BB to modify their behaviour, they will be required to leave the house immediately.
9. The tasks
Each week BB will set the group a task, which housemates will have to tackle together. The tasks vary from physical to mental challenges but are all designed to get the group to co-operate and work together. Housemates will be asked to bet a proportion of their weekly budget on whether they will successfully complete the task. They will be required to bet between a minimum of 50% and a maximum of 100%.
There will generally be a budget of $2.50 to $3.50 and similar amounts in other countries, per person per day. The budget is kept to a minimum but the group will never starve. BB provides basic provisions based on Health Department estimations of a normal minimum daily intake per person.
The task is not optional. All housemates must take part or they could be eligible for ejection from the house. In some countries where the show is run, the group will also be asked to set a challenge on a Saturday night. Sometimes the challenges may require the group to work as individuals, on other occasions the challenge may require group work and co-operation in teams. As with weekly tasks, these challenges are not optional.
House and garden
It is the housemates’ responsibility to look after the complex and all the contents. If vegetables and livestock are provided they must be cared for – instructions will be provided.
Items within the house should be kept clean and in working order. It will be at the discretion of BB whether or not to replace items that are broken or damaged.
If any items are lost over the wall of the garden (such as a ball) it will be entirely at the discretion of BB whether or not to return the item.
The complex contains a swimming pool, sauna and spa in most countries. There are separate guidelines for this, but housemates should behave in a responsible manner when using the pool and spa.
In countries where a sauna is provided in the house it is forbidden for housemates to sit on the floor of the sauna at any time. Housemates must remove their microphone before entering the sauna and must place it back on their person after exiting the sauna.
What cannot be taken into the house?
Items not allowed to be taken into the house include:
Drugs and narcotics
Personal medication except in consultation with BB
Money, cheque books or credit/debit cards
Palm Pilots or electronic organisers
Agendas or diaries
Pen or any similar writing implement
Paper or writing pad
Musical instruments unless otherwise allowed in some countries
Any ready made games including playing cards
Any item requiring electrical or battery power (even if they are powered by solar energy or other sources).
Exercise equipment or weights
Radios or walkmans
CDs or CD players
Clothes with prominent commercial logos or messages to the outside world.
What can be taken into the house?
Big Brother searches all contestants before they enter the house. All housemates are issued with identical suitcases. A large main suitcase and smaller travel bag. Anything that housemates bring that does not fit into these two bags will not be allowed into the house. Any photographs brought in should have been taken by the housemate or the housemate’s friends or family and not by professional photographers. Housemates must provide names and contact details of all people featured in their photographs so that Big Brother can check that the individuals give their permission to have their photographs featured.
A reasonable quantity of toiletries (such as those below) and beauty products may be taken. If housemates bring toiletries and personal effects in quantities other then those prescribed in this list then Big Brother reserves the right to confiscate these toiletries. Feminine hygiene, condoms and suntan lotion will be provided if required. Although it is highly unlikely that a situation would arise requiring direct confiscation, Big Brother reserves the right at any stage to enter and search the house and confiscate personal items.
Items allowed to be taken into the Australian BB house (may vary each year and additional quantities of some items may be earned through successful task completion):
toothpaste – maximum size – 120g
moisturising cream – maximum size 100g
shaving foam – maximum size 200mls
deodorant – maximum size 50mls
disposable razors – maximum size ‘5-pack’
day cream, night cream and eye cream – maximum size, all 100mls
one lip gloss – 20mls maximum
one cleansing lotion/toner – maximum size 200mls
perfume or after shave – maximum size 100mls
shampoo/conditioner – maximum size 400mls
hand soap – 1 tablet
hairspray – maximum size 150mls
wax or gel – maximum size 150g
up to three photos
At any stage, Big Brother reserves the right to change or adapt these rules without prior notice.
Big Brother’s decision is final.