The Wiggles have criticised the city of Bunbury, Western Australia, which was revealed earlier this week to have been playing ‘Hot Potato’ on loop to deter the assembly of people experiencing homelessness, who had set up a makeshift shelter in the city.
The Mayor of Bunbury denied that the song was being used for this purpose. Nonetheless, The Wiggles took the Mayor and the city to task in a statement. “The Wiggles’ music is created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world and we are deeply disappointed to hear that it is being used in any other way,” the band said.
The Wiggles – ‘Hot Potato’
According to reports, the song played on loop for two days. “We obviously don’t want to be causing any agony for people who are down there and enjoying that space,” the Mayor, Jaysen Miguel, said after the song had been turned off.
One report claimed that the controls for the speaker system were broken into, and the music was “turned right up.”
In any case, there is a strong precedent for music being used unfairly and cruelly as a deterrent. Earlier this year, it was reported that local businesses in LA were using classical music to move on people experiencing homelessness, while closer to the home, SBS has reported on the frequency of music being used in this manner.
“Someone playing music to stop them sleeping at a place where they feel safe doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” said Evan Nunn, the chief executive of Accordwest, a homelessness support agency.