Govt shows contempt for seriously mentally ill and their carers
6 September 2011
The State Government has shown its true colours in relation to people with serious mental impairment and demonstrated its contempt for these people, the Greens claimed today.
The comments from the Hon Alison Xamon, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health and Disabilities followed the defeat of a Private Members Bill which sought to exempt people with significant mental impairment from mandatory sentencing provisions.
“The Government has shown a reckless disregard for the pleas of carers of people with serious mental impairment to amend the laws the Barnett/Grylls Government passed in 2009. These people have made it clear time and time again that they have lost confidence in calling the police in times of crisis as a direct result of the new laws. Yet the Government has chosen to respond by telling these people, who live with the reality of caring for unwell loved ones, that they don’t know what they are talking about.
“This is a disgraceful way to treat these people.
“Time and time again the Government has claimed that the mandatory sentencing laws are not meant to capture the significantly mentally impaired. Yet they refuse to allow the legislation to reflect this. People are right to question the Government’s bona fides on this issue.
“An insanity plea should never be the only option available for the mentally impaired and was only ever intended to capture the most seriously and chronically unwell. The sorts of people this Bill sought to protect were those who were subject to temporary psychoses, who are ordinarily well but who occasionally, through no fault of their own, succumb to their illnesses.
“Since this Bill was first brought on for debate I have been overwhelmed by emails from carers who have indicated they no longer hold any confidence that this Government has their interests at heart. The Minister for Mental Health in particular has completely failed people who were depending on her to advocate for them,” Ms Xamon concluded.
For further comment contact;
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering