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SJ No 143 - 21 March 2013
NATIONAL APOLOGY FOR FORCED ADOPTIONS
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Senate Journal No. 143 - 21 March 2013
- 1 MEETING OF SENATE
- 2 FAIR WORK (REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS) AMENDMENT (TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY) BILL 2012
- 3 AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (SELF-GOVERNMENT) AMENDMENT BILL 2013
- 4 EXPORT FINANCE AND INSURANCE CORPORATION AMENDMENT (FINANCE) E BILL 2013
- 5 HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT (FURTHER STREAMLINING AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2013
- 6 ADVANCES UNDER THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS—REPORT FOR 2011-12
- 7 COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE—GOVERNMENT RESPONSE—COMMONWEALTH CONTRIBUTION TO FORMER FORCED ADOPTION POLICIES AND PRACTICES
- 8 NATIONAL APOLOGY FOR FORCED ADOPTIONS
- 9 QUESTIONS
- 10 MOTIONS TO TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS
- 11 ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE—REFERENCE
- 12 MULTICULTURALISM—HARMONY DAY—UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
- 13 COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE—EXTENSION OF TIME TO REPORT
- 14 FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES—NEWSTART
- 15 FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES—GRANDCARERS SUPPORT SCHEME
- 16 FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES—WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY
- 17 INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS—NATIONAL CLOSE THE GAP DAY
- 18 FOREIGN AFFAIRS—SRI LANKA
- 19 FOREIGN AFFAIRS—CHINA—ORGAN HARVESTING
- 20 RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT REFERENCES COMMITTEE—LEAVE TO MEET DURING SITTING
- 21 FOREIGN AFFAIRS—SYRIA
- 22 CULTURE AND THE ARTS—LIVE MUSIC
- 23 SPORT—SPORTING CLUBS—FUNDING
- 24 ENVIRONMENT—COAL AND PASSENGER TRAINS—PARTICULATE EMISSIONS
- 25 FOREIGN AFFAIRS—WESTERN SAHARA
- 26 HEALTH—WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY
- 27 RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT REFERENCES COMMITTEE—INSTRUCTION TO COMMITTEE
- 28 NOTICES
- 29 SELECTION OF BILLS—STANDING COMMITTEE—REPORT NO. 4 OF 2013
- 30 LEAVE OF ABSENCE
- 31 SENATE—SENATOR EVANS—IMMINENT RESIGNATION—STATEMENT BY LEAVE
- 32 COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
- 33 DOCUMENTS
- 34 INDEXED LISTS OF DEPARTMENTAL AND AGENCY FILES—ORDER FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS—DOCUMENT
- 35 HEALTH INSURANCE—ANTI-COMPETITIVE PRACTICES—ORDER FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS—DOCUMENT
- 36 IMMIGRATION—DETENTION CENTRES—NUMBER OF DETAINEES—ORDER FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS—DOCUMENTS
- 37 ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS REFERENCES COMMITTEE—REFERENCE
- 38 ADJOURNMENT
- 39 ATTENDANCE
NATIONAL APOLOGY FOR FORCED ADOPTIONS
The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Conroy) moved—That the Senate support the apology given on this day by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the nation, to people affected by forced adoption and removal policies and practices in the following terms:
Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering.
We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers.
And we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members.
To you, the mothers who were betrayed by a system that gave you no choice and subjected you to manipulation, mistreatment and malpractice, we apologise.
We say sorry to you, the mothers who were denied knowledge of your rights, which meant you could not provide informed consent. You were given false assurances. You were forced to endure the coercion and brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal.
We know you have suffered enduring effects from these practices forced upon you by others. For the loss, the grief, the disempowerment, the stigmatisation and the guilt, we say sorry.
To each of you who were adopted or removed, who were led to believe your mother had rejected you and who were denied the opportunity to grow up with your family and community of origin and to connect with your culture, we say sorry.
We apologise to the sons and daughters who grew up not knowing how much you were wanted and loved.
We acknowledge that many of you still experience a constant struggle with identity, uncertainty and loss, and feel a persistent tension between loyalty to one family and yearning for another.
To you, the fathers, who were excluded from the lives of your children and deprived of the dignity of recognition on your children's birth records, we say sorry. We acknowledge your loss and grief.
We recognise that the consequences of forced adoption practices continue to resonate through many, many lives. To you, the siblings, grandparents, partners and other family members who have shared in the pain and suffering of your loved ones or who were unable to share their lives, we say sorry.
Many are still grieving. Some families will be lost to one another forever. To those of you who face the difficulties of reconnecting with family and establishing on-going relationships, we say sorry.
We offer this apology in the hope that it will assist your healing and in order to shine a light on a dark period of our nation's history.
To those who have fought for the truth to be heard, we hear you now. We acknowledge that many of you have suffered in silence for far too long.
We are saddened that many others are no longer here to share this moment. In particular, we remember those affected by these practices who took their own lives. Our profound sympathies go to their families.
To redress the shameful mistakes of the past, we are committed to ensuring that all those affected get the help they need, including access to specialist counselling services and support, the ability to find the truth in freely available records and assistance in reconnecting with lost family.
With profound sadness and remorse, we offer you all our unreserved apology.
Debate adjourned till the next day of sitting, Senator Pratt in continuation.
Suspension of sitting: On the motion of the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence (Senator Feeney) the sitting of the Senate was suspended at 1.36 pm till 2 pm.
At 2 pm—