Senator Alex Antic accuses ABC of “child grooming”

Liberal senator Alex Antic accused the ABC and entertainer Courtney Act of “child grooming’ during a Senate Estimates hearing on Tuesday.

Brandishing a photograph of the popular drag performers appearance on Play School, where she read the book The Spectacular Suit, Antic asked Managing Director David Anderson “Why is the ABC grooming Australian children with this sort of adult content?”

Anderson knocked back the accusation, saying the program was not about grooming but just children playing dress-ups.

“We are not grooming Australian children, what we are doing in that, that is about dressing up,” he said.

The book from author Kat Patrick is about a young girl who disagrees with her mother, who is asking her to wear a dress to her birthday party. Instead, the child opts for a ‘spectacular suit’.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young voiced her alarm at Senator Antic’s line of questioning.

“Girls wearing pants – that’s the level of questioning you’re putting forward.” Hanson-Young said. To which Senator Antic told her to leave the room if she found if line of questioning offensive.

“Grooming is a really serious matter, it’s not for being played with by conservative senators so they can make headlines,” she said.

“I think sexual assault survivors right around this country will be deeply offended, deeply offended by you playing politics.”

“That’s what child grooming looks like.” Senator Antic said holding up a picture of the segment featuring Courtney Act. He contiued on saying the book was about cross-dressing.

“Does the ABC agree that transgenderism and cross-dressing are adult concepts?” Senator Antic asked.

David Anderson said he didn’t accept the segment could be described as child grooming, saying the book was simply about dressing up.

Senator Antic questioned Anderson’s response saying, “Female children wearing male clothing – that’s not subliminal?” Senator Antic asked.

Senator Hanson Young interjected asking if Senator Antic had a problem with girls wearing pants, while committee chair Karen Grogan said children had been playing dress-up for decades.

“Do you think this content is contributing to the gender dysphoria in this country?” Senator Antic asked, as the ABC boss continued to deny his accusations.

Anderson said he didn’t see any gender dysphoria problem in Australia, and the broadcaster was committed to reflecting all Australians in their programming.

Senator Antic asked why the ABC thought it was important that their programing and workforce needed to diverse, asking Anderson to explain how a diverse workforce was an advantage to the broadcaster.

Former Play School presenter James Valentine posted a picture to Twitter that showed him wearing a skit alongside veteran host Benita Collings.

“Me, playing Dress Ups with Benita, thirty years ago. A Play School tradition.” Valentine said.

OIP Staff


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