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National Apology for Victims of Forced Adoption Policies

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (10.55 am)—I move:

That the Senate—
(a) recognises the grief and anguish suffered by thousands of mothers who were victims of the forced adoption policies of the recent past;
(b) acknowledges the recent apology given by the Western Australian Parliament to those mothers whose children were removed and given up for adoption from the late 1940s to the 1980s in that state; and
(c) urges the Australian Government to commence the process of developing a national apology in consultation with state and territory governments, mothers and their families, experts and advocacy groups.

Senator SHERRY (Tasmania—Minister for Small Business, Minister Assisting on Deregulation and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (10.55 am)— by leave—

The Australian government recognises the pain and suffering of mothers and children separated by inappropriate and unethical past adoption practices. The government is committed to an effective and ongoing dialogue with women and their children affected by past adoption practices.

The Australian government, together with the state and territory governments, has commissioned a joint national research study to study the experiences of people affected by past adoption practices, as well as the support and service needs of people affected by past adoption practices. The study demonstrates all jurisdictions’ commitment to understanding the pain and grief associated with past adoption practices. This new research will help us to better understand the experiences of people affected and, most importantly, to understand their current needs.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies will consult widely with affected individuals in undertaking the joint national research study into past adoption practices. This study is the largest ever conducted into past adoption practices in this country. It will report back to community services ministers in all jurisdictions in 2012.

The Australian government previously commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies to undertake a review of Australian research literature about past adoption practices and the impact on those affected. The literature review found that there is not currently a reliable evidence base for understanding the extent of past practices, the number of Australians who were affected and the long-term effects.

Question negatived.

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