Australia’s public broadcaster has been accused of ‘grooming’ children after well-known drag queen Courtney Act’s appearance on Playschool’s Story Time.

Liberal senator Alex Antic made the claim during Senate Estimates, saying he had questions about programming matters. He asked why Shane Jenek, whose stage name is Courtney Act, read a children’s book about a female child wanting to wear male clothing on the children’s show.

“The program was rated G and has been heavily promoted on TV and on the app. Why is the ABC grooming children with this sort of adult content?” the senator asked.

Senator Alex Antic


Courtney Act on Playschool


ABC managing director David Anderson rejected the statement, replying, “I don’t see that as grooming children with our content. That particular program is reading from a book that is about dressing up.”

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young called the claim ‘deeply, deeply offensive’.

“Heavens above – girls wearing pants. That is the level of rubbish you are putting forward,” she continued.

But senator Antic wouldn’t be swayed. “It is amazing what triggers a response. The truth. The truth that the ABC is grooming our children,” he said.

Senator Hanson-Young replied,”Grooming is a really serious matter. It’s not for being played with by conservative senators to make headlines.”

David Anderson again reiterated that the ABC is not grooming Australian children.

You can watch the full exchange below:

The book Courtney Act reads in the segment is called The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick and is described as, ‘a buoyant and heartwarming celebration of individuality, identity, and dressing to suit yourself.’

You can grab a copy for your children here:  The Spectacular Suit and you can watch Courtney Act read the story on ABC iView.

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  • Courtney Act is a marvellous kind caring human being Go Courtney


  • I wonder if there’s two seperate issues here – the fact a drag queen was reading to the kids or the content of the actual book. If the children were being read the book by their parents at home would anyone think anything of it?


  • I don’t see this as grooming.


  • I think its just over the top that this was even raised as an issue when there are real issues we are facing


  • It’s time to normalise this content – there is nothing wrong with Courtney Act appearing on playschool.


  • Wow, some people have such antiquated thinking. Like someone could make a child trans, or gay or whatever. You are born the way you are, people need to accept it and things like normalizing that people are different will help these children as they grow up.


  • Because we’re trying to normalise all different types of people and be more inclusive. That way our young children will grow up not having the bias that others do.


  • I think he was offended by the Drag Queen and not the contents of the book ????


  • I don’t believe for one minute that the ABC or Playschool would put on a show to groom children. This Senator is just trying to get some attention which he’s now got, but not the type he would have wanted. He’s not very Liberal in his thinking that’s for sure.


  • The title of this article should read … Sparks growing concerns.


  • When you don’t like the show or the book, simply don’t watch or read it.


  • Alex Antic I have never heard of him and this is his way of getting attention the ABC in this day and age would not put children at risk and would have done all things needed to air this show. I am old fashioned but accept the person doing the show was well qualified vetted and probably did a very good job so whats the problem .
    Could someone send Alex a colour in book and a cheese and vegamite sandwich


  • Oh goodness! People will find anything to have an issue with this day and age. I don’t see an issue with an individual ready a book. I wonder if this would have gotten the same outcry if it was a different person reading.. probably not.
    Well done ABC for being inclusive and reiterating the fact that ALL children no matter who they are, are worthy!


  • I wonder if he’d been quite as exercised about it if it had been someone different reading it? I’m not offended by either the choice of book or celebrity, and it’s not grooming.


  • People are seriously taking things too far these days. I honestly wouldn’t want to be a child in this day and age.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Courtney reading such a story. I think the senator has better things to worry about!!!


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