Apology to the Forgotten Australians

History will be made today when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers a National Apology on behalf of all Australians to more than 500,000 Forgotten Australians and former child migrants.

Parliamentary patrons of the Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) Corio MP Richard Marles and Blaxland MP Jason Clare said the apology will be a watershed moment in the lives of so many Australians who grew up in institutional care.

“We know this will be an extremely emotional day for many but we also know it is an important step forward in the healing process for so many Australians brought up in care as state wards, foster children, home children raised in orphanages, children’s homes and other institutions,” Mr Clare said.

“For them this is longed-for acknowledgement of the terrible abuse and neglect they suffered while in the care of those institutions.

“It is also recognition that what happened what not their fault but the failure of a system to protect them,” Mr Clare said.

“Many Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants were denied the comfort that comes from parental love and the security of a happy childhood. They have suffered with mental and physical scars that have made working and family relationships difficult,” Mr Marles said.

“All have a remarkable story to tell – of courage and survival against some pretty terrible odds.

“We would particularly like to pay tribute to the tireless work of CLAN President Leonie Sheedy and co-founder Joanna Penglase who were instrumental in bringing this issue to national attention.

“Today we say to the Forgotten Australians that we won’t forget what you have suffered, that as a nation we are sorry and that what you have endured is no longer a shameful secret but a period of history on record for all Australians to remember,” Mr Marles said.

Media contact: Korena Flanagan T:9790 2466