Posted by Secretary - 21/03/13 08:35PM - -
Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering.Julia Gillard
"Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering," she said.
"We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers and we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members.
"We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children.
"You were not legally or socially acknowledged as their mothers and you yourselves were deprived of care and support."
"We say sorry to you, the mothers, who were denied knowledge of your rights, which meant you could not provide informed consent.
"You were given false assurances. You were forced to endure the coercion and brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal."
The crowd erupted with applause and many broke down in tears at several points throughout the speech.
Ms Gillard acknowledged that despite the apology, victims will still feel the pain.
"Friends, as the time for birth came, these babies would be snatched away before they had even held them in their arms," she said.
"Sometimes, consent was achieved by forgery or fraud. Sometimes women signed adoption papers whilst under the influence of medication.
"Most common of all was the bullying arrogance of a society that presumed to know what was best.
"The hurt did not simply last for a few days or weeks. This was a wound that would not heal."