Table of contents:
- 1. Why did the Queensland Parliament apologise?
- 2. What are past forced adoption policies and practices?
- 3. Who delivered the apology and to whom was it made?
- 4. What consultation was undertaken?
- 5. What ongoing supports are available to people affected by forced adoptions in Queensland?
- 6. How will the apology be documented as a permanent reminder?
On 27 November 2012, the Premier, the Honourable Campbell Newman MP, made an historic apology for past forced adoption policies and practices in Parliament, on behalf of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.
The apology reflected the recommendation made on 29 February 2012 by the Australian Government Senate Committee Inquiry on the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices that a formal statement of apology be issued by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to those people affected by forced adoptions.
During its deliberations, the Committee held a public hearing in Brisbane in April 2011 and heard evidence from individuals and stakeholder groups about the impacts of forced adoption practices of the past. The inquiry heard the very real, and for many, lifetime consequences that resulted from forced adoption policies and practices in Queensland, particularly for mothers and their children.
The Senate Inquiry found that in many circumstances children were removed from their mothers under duress or by deception. As a result children were denied family connections and many mothers have suffered anguish and guilt with lifelong impacts.
Many people affected by forced adoption highlighted that an apology would make a genuine difference in their lives and that of their families, and would allow them to feel that their pain has been recognised and acknowledged by the state.
While the past cannot be changed, the Queensland Parliament's apology acknowledged the role of successive Queensland governments in forced adoption policies and practices which are now recognised as wrong. It is hoped that the official apology will help to ease some of the pain felt by people affected by past policies and practices and will help to facilitate the healing process. It is also hoped that the official apology will help to make other Queenslanders aware of the history of forced adoption and the impact of past policies and practices on those who have been affected.
Forced adoption policies and practices refer to incidences where children were placed for adoption because their parents, particularly their mothers, were forced to relinquish them or faced circumstances in which they were left with no other choice.
The Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices reported that policies and practices resulting in forced adoptions were widespread throughout Australia in the post-war period. Submissions received by the inquiry included individual experiences that date from the 1950s to as recently as the 1980s.
The Premier, the Honourable Campbell Newman MP, on behalf of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, delivered the formal apology to those affected by forced adoptions in Queensland – the mothers and fathers whose children were removed because of forced adoption policies and practices from the past, the people who were separated from their parents as infants as a result of those practices and other family members who were also affected by these practices.
Between 10 September and 11 October 2012, the Queensland Government invited all interested individuals and organisations to contribute their thoughts about what an apology may mean to them and how the apology should be framed. We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback to inform the development of the apology.
The Queensland Government is committed to supporting people who have been affected by past adoption policies and practices.
People who have been affected by past adoption policies and practices can seek information and support by contacting Post Adoption Support Queensland on (07) 3170 4600 or 1300 914 819.
We believe that the apology should be shared in the public arena to serve as a reminder of a practice that should never have occurred.
You can view video of the apology online, read the text of the apology read the text of the apology and read the Hansard transcript of the apology and Parliamentary speeches online.
A commemorative copy of the apology signed by the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is on display at Parliament House. You can view the display by entering through the Parliamentary Annexe, Alice Street, Brisbane, and asking Parliament House staff (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday). Information about travelling to Parliament House is available on the Queensland Parliament website.
A commemorative book featuring comments from people who attended the apology, along with a signed copy of the apology, can be viewed at the State Library of Queensland (John Oxley Library, Level 4), South Bank (10am – 5pm daily). Information about travelling to the State Library is available on the State Library website.
A DVD of the apology is also available upon request. You can order a copy of the DVD by phoning Adoption Services Queensland on 1800 647 983 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.