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WA Greens condemn offensive Royal Show exhibit

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 25 Sep 2014

Western Australian Greens at the State and Federal level have condemned a Royal Perth Show exhibition which encourages participants to poke sticks at mental health patients and stigmatises people with mental health issues.

"Mocking people with mental health issues and playing up horrifically outdated stereotypes is completely inappropriate, I simply can't believe that the makers of the exhibit and the Perth Royal Show would think this is acceptable," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"The AIHW estimates that 45% of Australians aged 16-85 will experience a common mental health-related condition such as depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder in their lifetime. To address and improve mental health services we must combat this kind of stigma. The idea of an exhibit allowing ‘patients' to be mocked or poked with sticks is frankly unbelievable and deeply offensive. The Royal Show should immediately cancel this exhibit," Senator Siewert concluded.

"Is it disappointing to see the Royal Show has launched a Haunted House that undeniably stigmatises mental health. The article ‘Haunted House not for the faint-hearted' uses phrases like ‘asylum' and ‘crazy' to promote the ‘exhibition'," WA Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said today.

"This State is better than using the archaic stereotypes of a minority group as a tourist attraction. Readers that are struggling with mental health issues may feel targeted and subsequently may suffer.

"The Royal Show is an event brimming with diversity and acceptance, they can do better than this," Ms MacLaren concluded.

Co-signed by
Senator Rachel Siewert
Senator Scott Ludlam
Lynn MacLaren MLC
Robin Chapple MLC
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