The Tasmanian Greens said today’s formal apology by the Commonwealth to Australians affected by past forced adoption policies and practices was a significant first step towards national recognition of these past wrongs.

Greens Children’s spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP, who moved in March last year for the Tasmanian Parliament to apologise, said the Federal Parliament’s apology is a long awaited acknowledgment and recognition that these practices did occur despite decades of denial, were wrong and must not be repeated.

“Just over a year since the Greens first tabled a motion calling for the Tasmanian Parliament to apologise to those Tasmanian mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and adoptees whose lives had been so badly impacted upon by these appalling practices, we are seeing the Commonwealth now take this significant step,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“We would hope that the Commonwealth’s apology follows in Tasmania’s footsteps, and formally recognise that the forced removal of children from their mother at birth, was not only immoral, but also illegal. The formal Tasmanian apology delivered in October last year, was the first state to put on the record the illegality of these past acts.”

“It was not only governments involved in this practice, there were many non-government organisations whose charity was in short supply when they aided and abetted the forced removal of children from their parents.”

“Many of those organisations are yet to apologise and we urge them to face up to the wrongs of the past, and we urge them to also apologise for the harm they have helped to create.”

“This Federal apology long overdue recognition of the hurtful, damaging and unethical practices and policies of the past, and hopefully it will give many closure, start a real healing journey, and foster greater understanding throughout the community of this awful truth to ensure it never happens again,” Mr O’Halloran said.
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Children’s spokesperson Thursday, 21 March 2013