The Senate has supported an Australian Greens motion for the Community Affairs Reference Committee to examine the Commonwealth Government’s role in forced adoption polices from the late 1940s to the 1980s.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Community Services says the Committee’s inquiry is an important step in addressing the issue of forced adoption and comes in the wake of the WA Parliament’s formal apology to those affected by the policies.
“Today’s vote starts to recognise the suffering that so many people have endured as a result of forced adoption policies,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The Community Affairs Reference Committee will now examine the role, if any, of the Commonwealth in policies and practices in contributing to forced adoption.
“The Committee will also look at the potential for the Commonwealth Government to be involved in developing a national framework to assist the many thousands of people who have suffered as a result of these policies.
“There is no doubt that many women were treated very badly as a result of these policies. Young and vulnerable mothers were pressured into adoptions, and often had to surrender their newborn children without being allowed to see them.
“For many mothers and children, the emotional and psychological damage of these policies continues, and will be felt for the rest of their lives. We must do all we can to address this,” Senator Siewert concluded.
The Community Affairs Reference Committee will report back to the Government by 30 April 2011.