This morning the Greens got in early calling for a formal apology “to those affected by forced adoption practices from the ACT Government”.
“The mothers, their children and the families who were adversely affected by these past adoption practices have suffered long-term anguish over what was a disgraceful policy of immediate removal of babies following birth, and I hope this apology goes some way to healing the immense hurt caused.
“In 2010 a Greens motion was passed in the Assembly that called on the ACT Government to apologise on behalf of the ACT Legislative Assembly and the community to those ACT residents who have been affected by the forcible removal practices.
And voila, Joy Burch has just announced in an emailed statement that the apology will be made:
The ACT Government will make a statement of apology in the Legislative Assembly during the August sitting to the victims of forced adoptions.
This has been planned since the Australian Parliament’s Senate Inquiry on the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices recommended in February that Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments make a statement of apology to parents whose children were forcibly removed and to the children who were separated from their parents.
Furthermore, as early as October 2010 I committed in the Legislative Assembly that the ACT Government would make a statement of apology to the victims of forced adoptions. The ACT Government believed it was useful to wait until the Senate Inquiry had made its recommendations to ensure a nationally consistent approach, and since the Committee’s report we have been working towards making this statement during the August sittings.
While any forced adoptions that occurred in the ACT pre-dated self-government, and thus did not occur under the jurisdiction of an ACT government, the ACT Labor Government believes it is important to acknowledge the impact these policy decisions had, irrespective of which government was responsible.
Just as the ACT was the first jurisdiction to issue a statement of apology to the Stolen Generation in 1997, at a time when the Howard Liberal Government refused to, the ACT Labor Government is determined not to allow this Assembly term end without acknowledging the victims of forced adoptions.
I welcomed Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s announcement in June 2012 that the Federal Government would be making a formal apology – like those issued to the indigenous Stolen Generations and former child migrants known as the Forgotten Australians – to the victims of forced adoptions.