A Sydney mother has claimed she was turned away from a local playgroup because she and her young children did not fit the multicultural requirements.
On the back of a glowing recommendation, Tara Coverdale bundled her two children into the pram and headed down to the Alexandria Park Community Centre.
As her excited four-year-old son ran into the playground, Ms Coverdale claims she was lost for words when a staff member said, “can I ask what your cultural background is?”
A little taken aback, Ms Coverdale told the playgroup worker that she was “Australian”, an explanation that was quickly rejected, The Daily Telegraph reports.
“I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home,” Ms Coverdale recalls being told by the staff member.
Standing her ground, the young mother insisted she was not leaving.
“My kids were playing. My older son was having such a good time with his buddy, and I thought, ‘Why should I leave?’”
At this point, the playgroup’s manager, Jo Fletcher, stepped in and asked a similar line of questioning before telling Ms Coverdale that the group was designed to help lonely multicultural mothers network.
“Can I just ask what your cultural background is?” Ms Fletcher reportedly asked.
“I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup… You’ll have to go up to Erskineville or Newtown,” the manager said.
Ms Coverdale said the she was left feeling excluded and insisted their system was creating an unnecessary division in an otherwise “pretty progressive area”.