On 21 March 2013 the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard apologised on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. A transcript of the apology and accompanying speeches and a video of the event is available on the Parliament of Australia website. Video footage of the day was used to create a commemorative DVD available from [email protected] or call 02 6141 3030. You may also use these contacts to view or contribute to the commemorative journals of comments, thoughts and reflections. You may see photographs of the event at the Attorney-General’s Department Flickr account.
Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group
On 16th May, Attorney-General the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP and the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins MP announced Adjunct Professor Nahum Mushin as the chair of the then Australian Government’s Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group. A panel of 12 experts, including three Senators, has been appointed to the Implementation Working Group which will provide key advice to Government on services and projects to improve support for people who have been affected by forced adoption practices. Members are: Professor Nahum Mushin (Chair), Angela Barra Queensland adoptee/Origins, Sue Boyce, Senator, Queensland; Elizabeth Brew NSW Mother, Christine Cole NSW Coordinator of Apology Alliance; Gary Coles, Father, Victoria; Thomas Graham, ACT, Adoptee editor of the Australian Journal of Adoption, Leigh Hubbard, Victoria, Adoptee, Chair of VANISH; Sue MacDonald, Mother, WA; Claire Moore, Senator Queensland; Kathryn Rendell, Mother, Queensland, national Council for Single Mothers and Their Children; Evelyn Robinson, Mother, SA; Rachel Siewert, Senator, WA.
The first meeting of the Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group has been held in July 2013.
The Australian Government has invested $11.5 million over the next four years to assist those affected by forced adoption practices.
- $5 million to improve access to specialist support services, peer and professional counselling and supported records tracing for those affected by forced adoptions
- $5 million to:
- develop guidelines and training materials for mental health professionals to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and care of those affected by forced adoption practices
- increase capacity under the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPs) program, for general practitioners to refer those affected by forced adoption practices with a mild to moderate mental disorder to mental health professionals who deliver focussed psychological strategies services
- $1.5 million for a website and exhibition by the National Archives of Australia to record the experiences of those affected by forced adoption and increase awareness and understanding of these experiences in the community.
If a person wishes to access the ATAPS services, they should approach their GP.