Local Hero wins National Apology

This has come about after the hard work of local Georges Hall resident Leonie Sheedy. From her smalloffice in Chapel Road Bankstown, Leonie has been campaigning for the last nine years to bring the plight ofForgotten Australians to national attention.

“Leonie’s determination is truly inspirational, she really is a national hero,” Mr Clare said.

Ms Sheedy co-founded Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) in 2000, a support and advocacy group forclose to half a million Australians who were brought up in care as state wards, foster children or homechildren raised in orphanages, children’s homes and other institutions.

Many of these survivors are now middle-aged or older but still carry the burden of unresolved issues fromthe past. Many have been left with the scars of emotional deprivation and neglect, and of physical, sexualand psychological abuse.

Ms Sheedy’s lobbying prompted a Senate Inquiry in 2004, which received more than 600 submissionsdetailing graphic and disturbing accounts of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The Inquiryrecommended that the Australian Parliament issue an apology to the Forgotten Australians.

“When we first started to lobby, they told us it would take ten years just to get an inquiry, but we weren’tabout to give up – no way was I going to wait that long,” Ms Sheedy said.

“I knew that if we were going to get our voices heard we had to get our message to Canberra – that’s whenI first met Jason Clare, who was a local candidate at the time,” Ms Sheedy said.”

Jason never gave up and I know this apology wouldn’t have been possible without his ongoingcommitment and support,” Ms Sheedy said.

Later this year the Australian Parliament will formally apologise to the men and women who experiencedabuse or neglect as children in institutional care.The Government has also announced a further $300,000 in funding for the Care Leavers Australia Networkover the next two years.

“When I think of the apology I am overwhelmed with happiness and a sense of achievement for what thismeans to all the care leavers/survivors. The under dog, the little people,” Ms Sheedy said.

“This apology and the $300,000 means we can keep our doors open and continue this much needed workfor all the care leavers of Australia,” Ms Sheedy said.”No longer are we the Forgotten Australians – we want to be the remembered Australians,” Ms Sheedysaid.

Media contact: Chris Zogopoulos T: 9790 2466