Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Power of One.

Professor Ian Jones,
Obstetrician and Executive Director
Women’s and Newborn Services,
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

On 19th May 2009 gave this apology acknowledging Forced Adoption Pratices.

 Thank you for meeting with senior members of Women's and Newborn Services at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on 10 February 2009 and sharing your stories with us about the care you received at the Royal Women's Hospital some time ago. It was very moving and indeed saddening to hear how your experiences have adversely affected your lives, and many other lives that are near and dear to you.
From our frank discussions, we understand that each of you was denied the right to experience the natural relationship between mother and child to care for and to raise your children yourselves, but because of hospital practices were not permitted to do so.
In summary you have described to us how your much wanted babies were taken from you by the practices of the hospital operating at the time and that you feel you were coerced by hospital staff to sign over your babies for adoption.
In this regard we acknowledge the hurt and suffering you have described and sincerely apologise for any ill treatment experienced by you as single women during your pregnancy and confinement at the Royal Women's Hospital.

This apology was the first in Australia to recognise this dark history in Queensland.

Western Australia Parliament recognised the importance of this apology and mentioned its significance in their apology for Forced Adoption Policies and Practices.

When the Queensland Government called for recommendations for our Queensland Apology, ALAS asked for the apology from Professor Ian Jones to be recognised for the significant part it has played in making Australia accountable for its dark history of forced adoption policies and practices. Premier Newman did not do this. With the apology from Professor Ian Jones, the public heard for the first time, that mothers did not “give away” their babies en mass, they were in fact, coerced by many different practices. Queensland has 35,766 known adoptions. We know this figure is much higher but we only have Government records for the period 1945 to 1980. This was researched by Joanne Clarke.
We are pleased to see the word, “illegal” in our written apology. Another first for Queensland. ALAS did asked to have three words included in the written apology, Illegal, Immoral and unethical. The speakers between them said these words but, when the public, both present and future look at our Apology which will hang in Parliament, they will not understand the full impact of Forced Adoptions. It is however recorded in Hansard and we hope schools and universities and the public will take the time to read these speeches from our Politicians.

ALAS will ask the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to see the importance of this first apology as being, “the flame that lit the fire.”
Senator Claire Moore spoke of Professor Ian Jones’s apology in her speech in Canberra at the Recommendations of the Senate Inquiry in 2012.
With 250,000 adoptions in Australia from the early 1940’s, there are over a million people affected.

ALAS would like to thank on behalf of our members, Professor Ian Jones, for the important part he played in addressing our past history. Professor Jones is a compassionate and honourable man and we wish him a long and happy retirement next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

21st March 2013 date for Federal Apology.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has set a date for a formal apology to those affected by forced adoption practices from the 1950s to the 1970s.
The apology comes after a landmark inquiry by the Federal Senate, which found up to 250,000 babies were forcibly taken from their mothers, who were mostly young and unmarried.
The Federal Government has confirmed Ms Gillard will deliver the apology at Parliament House on March 21 next year.
It says the apology will acknowledge the pain and suffering caused by the practice and is designed to help in the healing process for affected families.
A reference group, including people directly affected by forced adoption, provided advice on the wording of the apology.

The ceremony will be open to victims including mothers and fathers who were forcibly separated from their children, now-adult children who were adopted, affected siblings, and extended family members.
In February the Senate Committee recommended the Government formally apologise for past forced adoption practices, which it described as barbaric and a "horror of our history".
The inquiry, conducted over 18 months, received hundreds of submissions and spoke to dozens of witnesses.
Some claimed they were drugged and restrained before giving adoption consents.
Others said they were given no choice but to surrender their babies for adoption in the face of family and social pressure.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert chaired the committee and said governments and institutions need to take a more credible approach to former forced adoption practices.
"It is time for governments and institutions involved to accept that such actions were wrong, not merely by today's standards, but by the values and laws of the time," she said.
"Formal apologies must acknowledge this and not equivocate."
Australian states and territories including Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria have already apologised to those affected.
ABC News