Victorian Government apologises for past adoption practices

Premier Baillieu at lecturn
25 October 2012

Premier BaillieuThe apology was delivered by the Premier, Ted Baillieu in State Parliament at 11:30am on Thursday, 25 October 2012.

The proceedings were watched by approximately 300 invited guests and people affected by past forced adoption practices at live broadcasts in Queen's Hall, Parliament House and at the Windsor Hotel.

During his speech, Premier Baillieu acknowledged that the practice of forced adoptions occurred from early last century into the early 1980’s but was particularly institutionalised between 1950 and 1975.

“Young mothers were routinely compelled, coerced, and given no realistic choice other than to relinquish their babies for adoption” said Premier Baillieu.

“On behalf of the Victorian Government, representing all of the Governments which have come before us, we express our sincere sorrow and regret for the health and welfare policies that condoned the practice of forced separations. These were misguided, unwarranted, and they caused immeasurable pain”.

The Government announced a number of additional measures to better respond to the needs of people who were affected by forced adoption practices.  These include:

  • funding of $500,000 over two years to establish a professional development program to build specialist competencies in post forced-adoption psychotherapy for qualified counsellors
  • amending the Adoption Act 1984 to allow birth parents to receive identifying information about adopted people
  • waiving fees for people affected by past forced adoption practices that seek access to personal and family information through the Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND) service provided by the Department of Human Services.

A DVD of the broadcast will be made available in the coming weeks. To order a copy of the DVD contact Robyn Gumley by email at robyn.gumley@dhs.vic.gov.au or via telephone on 03 9096 7366.

Copies of the apology co-signed by The Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the National Party, and the Leader of the Victorian Greens have been framed and placed at key locations, including the Parliament of Victoria, serving as a permanent reminder of this important milestone. A commemorative book was also available at the live screening for signing. It will now be placed in the Parliament of Victoria library for people to sign.

View a copy of the Apology on this site.

View the Victorian Government’s media release.

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