A Sydney mother of two claims she was excluded from an inner city playgroup for being caucasian.
Tara Coverdale told The Daily Telegraph she was asked to leave the Alexandria playgroup with the facilitator telling her: “I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.”
The article claimed the incident proves “reverse racism” is acceptable in Australia – but for people who run multicultural playgroups around Australia it is a story causing division.
“It concerns me that playgroup is being tied up in a cultural division conversation which is much bigger and is very political,” said CEO of Playgroup WA, David Zarb.
“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if someone accidentally showed up to a playgroup for children with autism. The same thing would have happened if she’d showed up with a four-year-old to a playgroup for babies.”
Multicultural playgroups exist across Australia, but so do thousands of other types of playgroups for the community.
"Playgroup mums, dads, grandmas, granddads - they're are as diverse as the population so they more than anyone understand the value of social support in the community," said Zarb.
"Everyone is entitled to it and there is a playgroup for everybody but not every playgroup is for every single person," he added.
Zarb says the story's coverage has been "unfortunate" and reveals a community divide in Australia.
"Supported playgroups are set up specifically for families with additional needs, " he says.
"Like any funded program, whether it’s playgroup or counselling or a medical service, if you don’t have some boundaries as to people who use them, then people would complain you’d be wasting money."
Playgroups WA run a "fabulous" multicultural playgroup in Ellenbrook an outer suburb of Perth, specifically targeted to isolated families.