Among other recommendations, this paper argues that the Commonwealth should take the earliest opportunity to apologise publicly to those affected by former forced adoption policies and practices.
On 15 November 2010, the Senate referred to the Community Affairs References Committee an inquiry into former forced adoption policies and practices. The motion covered more than just the terms of reference for the inquiry:
(1) That the Senate:
- (a) acknowledges the recent apology given by the Western Australian Parliament to those mothers whose children were removed and given up for adoption from the late 1940s to the 1980s; and (
- b) notes that policies and practices resulting in forced adoptions were widespread throughout Australia during that time.
(2) That the following matters be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 April 2011:
- (a) the role, if any, of the Commonwealth Government, its policies and practices in contributing to forced adoptions; and
- (b) the potential role of the Commonwealth in developing a national framework to assist states and territories to address the consequences for the mothers, their families and children who were subject to forced adoption policies.