Watchdog asked to act on suspect adoptions


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15-10-2008 12:44 PM


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Radio National


15-10-2008 12:44 PM



15-10-2008 01:49 PM

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2008-10-15 12:44:09

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HALL, Eleanor


GUEST, Annie


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Watchdog asked to act on suspect adoptions -

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ELEANOR HALL: Queensland's misconduct watchdog has been asked to investigate the State Government's
handling of the Indian adoption scandal.

Two Australian couples adopted Indian children who are now suspected of being stolen from their

The Federal Government has banned any further dealings with one agency and is continuing to
investigate others.

But the Queensland Opposition says the State Government hasn't supported the Queensland family, or
explained why it failed to act on warnings against dealing with the Indian adoption agency.

The Minister wasn't available for an interview, but Annie Guest spoke to the opposition's child
safety spokeswoman, Jann Stuckey.

JANN STUCKEY: I have referred this incident to the Crime and Misconduct Commission because it shows
an abrogation of responsibility by the then Department of Families and it would appear the current
Department of Child Safety aren't taking this seriously enough.

It's very important that the CMC get to the bottom of this case, because to have a department
investigating itself is really little better than Caesar judging Caesar.

ANNIE GUEST: You say you've been informed that the family at the centre of the scandal hasn't
received any counselling or support from the State Government or legal support, but the State
Government says it has offered counselling and other support?

JANN STUCKEY: Well a third party who has direct contact with the family informed me that the
Government's response was to tell these parents to go and speak to legal aid if they had any

ANNIE GUEST: You're also critical of the Government's handling of a warning in the 90s against
dealing with this suspect adoption agency but it was the State Government who released this letter
a couple of weeks ago, how can you then say it's shrouded in secrecy.

JANN STUCKEY: The document I have dated in 1995 which comes from India warning about Malaysian
Social Services practices to the then Department of Families, appears, it appears that the
Department did not respond and if they did, somehow strangely the response has disappeared.

You really have to question the practices that we're going on and whether they're still going on,
because it's unacceptable that they have not been able to document anywhere that they have
responded to these alerts.

ANNIE GUEST: A Coalition Government came into power in the late '90s, can you be certain that it
acted on the warnings and put a stop to dealings with the Indian agencies?

JANN STUCKEY: I understand that the Coalition Government we're well aware of this alert and
actually made it their business to contact the Federal Government to see if they could perhaps take
over adoption services on a national basis.

They we're out of government in '98 and I understand another adoption took place in 99 under the
watch of the Labor Government.

ANNIE GUEST: Then how can you categorically state that under the coalition government put a policy
in place to actually stop dealings with this agency?

JANN STUCKEY: While the coalition did not stop dealing with this agency as far as a documented
procedure they certainly we're in talks with the Federal Government and did not process any
adoptions from India during that time.

ANNIE GUEST: Do you think that it should shoulder any of the blame since it did not put a policy in
place to stop dealings with the suspect agency in question.

JANN STUCKEY: Well the coalition stopped dealing with them themselves, so I think the fact that the
negotiations we're taking place between the Federal Government is indicative that they certainly
acknowledged that they we're aware of the issue, whereas what we're saying is that we can't find
any response.

I mean this was April '95, and then May '95 it's been stamped with received in adoption services
here in Queensland. You would expect a responsible department to respond in a matter of months.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Queensland's opposition spokeswoman on child safety, Jann Stuckey, speaking to
Annie Guest in Brisbane.