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Little Ted and Jemima in strife over pub craw -

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PETER CAVE: "Play School" characters Little Ted and Jemima are in strife for the company they've
been keeping.

The ABC has staged "Play School" concerts in pubs and clubs for eight years but there's a rising
voice of criticism that the public broadcaster is endorsing gambling and drinking.

The ABC has released a statement saying if the corporation didn't book such venues, children in
some areas would simply miss out and it says the performances in pubs and clubs are held away from
the gambling areas

Annie Guest compiled this report.

(Theme from "Play School")

ANNIE GUEST: The bear and the chair may sound benign, but it's their location that's the trouble.

PRESENTER (excerpt from "Play School"): It's not the arched window today, or the square window...

(Sound of poker machines being played)

ANNIE GUEST: The issue of pokie machines and drinking in the same venues as "Play School" concerts
came up in Senate Estimates this week.

The Greens have asked for more information about the ABC's association with Kids Promotion, the
company involved with presenting the concerts at pubs and clubs along with other places such as
schools.

PRESENTER (excerpt from "Play School"): And come on Humpty...

ANNIE GUEST: "Play School" presenters and characters feature in the live interactive 40 minute
shows performed for young children.

GLENYS STRADIJOT: We think it's entirely inappropriate for the public broadcaster to be enticing
people into businesses of any kind, let alone gambling and establishments that are selling alcohol.

ANNIE GUEST: Glenys Stradijot is from the lobby group, Friends of the ABC.

GLENYS STRADIJOT: What this is doing is introducing children to the environment, the environment of
gambling and alcohol establishments at an age before they are too young to determine themselves
whether or not that is an appropriate place for them to be.

ANNIE GUEST: But how different is this to families taking their children for meals at pubs and
clubs?

GLENYS STRADIJOT: Well I think that each family is entitled to make that decision but I don't think
it's the role of the publicly funded broadcaster to be actually encouraging that.

Anti-gambling campaigners like Senator Nick Xenophon have called on the ABC to stop the shows in
Leagues and RSL clubs.

NICK XENOPHON: Experts I have spoken to are concerned that there is a real issue in terms of kids
associating going to an ABC themed concert or any children's activity with an activity that is
potentially very harmful.

ANNIE GUEST: Do you think in the minds of children that these characters like Big Ted could be seen
as endorsing the activities in these venues?

NICK XENOPHON: Well, that is the risk.

PRESENTERS (excerpt from "Play School"): Munch, munch, crunch, crunch, crunch, munching away on my
salad today...

ANNIE GUEST: "The World Today" requested an interview with the ABC's managing director Mark Scott
but he was unavailable.

In a statement the ABC says if it did not book pubs and clubs in some suburbs and towns in New
South Wales, children in those areas would miss out.

The broadcaster says the entertainment venue is clearly separated from the gaming activities of the
clubs.

The ABC also says it hasn't received a complaint about the suitability of these places in the eight
years of touring its shows.

"The World Today" requested an interviews with one of the clubs but no-one was available and Clubs
NSW did not return our call.

PRESENTERS (excerpt from "Play School"): And bow, thank you very much, thank you very much.

PETER CAVE: Thank you Annie Guest.