Thursday, 14 November 2019
National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants
I, and also on behalf of Senators Siewert, Hanson, Lambie, Brown and Griff, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i.) 16 November 2019 marks the 10 year anniversary of the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants,
(ii.) an estimated 500,000 children and 7,000 child migrants were placed in institutional or out-of-home care in the last century,
(iii.) many of these children experienced appalling abuse, mistreatment and neglect, most often by the very people responsible for their care, and
(iv.) these Australians faced, and continue to face, an injustice no child should have;
(b) commemorates this anniversary of an acknowledgement of truth that had previously been denied;
(c) acknowledges the victims of this wrong and the deep levels of profound loss, grief, trauma and pain they continue to suffer;
(d) remembers those whose suffering was overwhelming and are tragically no longer with us;
(e) remains strongly committed to supporting forgotten Australians and former child migrants;
(f) reiterates the central principle that children's interests are paramount and at the centre of all decisions impacting their lives; and
(g) continues to work with state and territory governments to make certain we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Ten years ago the Australian government acknowledged the abuse and neglect experienced by forgotten Australians and child migrants placed in institutional or out-of-home care in the last century. This apology recognised, on behalf of all Australians, a truth that had previously been denied. Many forgotten Australians and former child migrants experienced appalling abuse and neglect—sickeningly, most often at the hands of the very people who were responsible for their care. Today, on behalf of the government, we say sorry once again. I reiterate the words of the Prime Minister: 'We believe you.' The government reaffirm our commitment to continue to work closely with state and territory governments as well as with forgotten Australians and former child migrants to deliver ongoing assistance to those who seek it.