National Apology for Forced Adoptions
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.
The national apology was delivered in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.
Copies of the apology text are below:
A transcript of the apology and accompanying speeches and a video of the event is available on the Parliament of Australia website.
Following the event in the Great Hall, motions of apology were moved in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
Copies of the speeches given in each chamber are below:
- Extract of Hansard - House of Representatives - 21 March 2013
- Extract of Hansard - Senate - 21 March 2013
In the House of Representatives the motion was referred to the Federation Chamber to allow for further speakers to speak on the motion. The motion was considered in the Federation Chamber on 15 and 16 May 2013:
- Extract of Hansard - Federation Chamber - 15 May 2013
- Extract of Hansard - Federation Chamber - 16 May 2013
On 3 December 2013, the motion was passed in the House of Representatives:
In the Senate, the debate on the motion was adjourned until the winter sitting. On 14 May 2013, debate was resumed and the motion was passed:
The governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have also issued apologies to those affected by forced adoption practices. The Northern Territory Government has expressed support for the national apology.
A series of five commemorative journals were made available for people attending the national apology to record their comments, thoughts and reflections. The journals were provided to the National Archives of Australia.
Photos of the event
Photographs taken at the event are available to view and download from the Attorney-General's Department Flickr account. Participants were advised prior to the event that this was a public event and photos would be publicly available.
Australian Government response
In 2013, the Australian Government invested $11.5 million over four years to assist those affected by forced adoption practices as part of its response to the recommendations in the Senate Committee report on the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices.
Additional funding of $5.7 million was granted through the 2016-17 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to continue the Forced Adoption Support Services to June 2021.
The Department of Social Services (DSS) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the government's response to the Senate Committee's report. For more information on the Australian Government response, visit the Forced Adoption Practices page on the DSS website or email ForcedAdoptionServices@dss.gov.au.
For more information on the history of forced adoptions in Australia, visit the National Archives of Australia's Forced Adoptions History Project website.
Support services for people affected by forced adoption practices
The Department of Social Services is funding seven organisations to provide coordinated specialist support services across Australia for people affected by forced adoption practices.
A list of the funded organisations, and information about other support services is available on the Support services for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices page of the DSS website.
To contact a forced adoption support service in your state or territory call 1800 21 03 13.