O’Farrell to apologise for forced adoptions
NEW South Wales Premier, Barry O’Farrell, will issue an official apology in parliament to victims of forced adoptions.
The apology is expected to be delivered during a joint sitting of parliament in September.
An estimated 150,000 Australian babies were taken from their mothers, mostly young and single, from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Family and Community Services Minister, Pru Goward, who took the motion to cabinet, says an official apology will help the many women and children who feel “haunted and devastated”.
“Understandably many have found it difficult to move on with their lives,” Ms Goward says in a statement today (Tuesday, August 21).
“It not only had an impact on the mothers involved, but also the fathers, the broader families, and of course the children who were adopted.”
A federal Senate report, released in February, recommended that Australian governments formally apologise to mothers and children who were victims of past forced adoption practices.
Governments in Western Australia and South Australia have already said sorry, while the federal, Victorian and Tasmanian governments will also apologise.
Ms Goward says while an apology will not undo past wrongs, it will offer “an acknowledgement of the role of NSW governments in practices that are now recognised as wrong”.
Mr O’Farrell is expected to flag the issuing of an apology when parliamentary question time is held today, Sydney media report.
Christine Cole, the convenor of Apology Alliance Australia, which represents survivors of forced adoption, says her baby was taken from her because she was unmarried.
“It left me scarred for the rest of my life,” she told Sydney media.
A NSW parliamentary inquiry into forced adoptions was held in 1998.