Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 October 2010) . . Page.. 5120 ..
apologise before we have done that work. I know that it is not the intention. What I would propose instead would be a different form of words.
We now have a proposal from the minister that we also take into account the issues related to the work being done by the Institute of Family Studies and the shared research that is being done there as a first step. I think it is appropriate that we as a community reinforce a desire for a national inquiry into this. There has been piecemeal work. Work has done in WA and New South Wales; there is work afoot. But we really need to bring all of that together in some sort of national inquiry and then bring the results of that national inquiry back here. Then we can resolve the form or whatever of the apology rather than saying that we will apologise and then do the work. My amendment would amend paragraph (4)(a) of Ms Burch’s motion.
This is a matter of finessing the language so as to bring, I would contend, a more thoughtful process where we bring together the information—the experiences that we have seen in WA, the work done in New South Wales and the work which is still being done by the Institute of Family Studies—compile that and use it as the impetus for a national inquiry. Let us look at the results of the national inquiry and then consider the appropriate terms of an apology for the people of the ACT as a result of that national inquiry.
These are very fraught issues. I think this is something that people think about that might have happened soon after the Second World War and in the 1950s and 1960s. In discussing this today, one of my staff members told the story of something that happened in his family much more recently than that. Members of his family feel that people were forced or coerced into a particular course of action in relation to an unplanned-for and difficult pregnancy and that has created a level of tension and animosity in that family which persists until today.
These issues will never be fully addressed, cauterised or resolved, but if an apology is an appropriate process I think that a national inquiry will reveal that. There was probably a high level of willingness for that to happen, but I think that we should be doing it in a very careful way and we should be very mindful of the needs of people.
I also reflect on the comments made by Ms Burch. I, like Ms Burch, have not received any representations on this matter. From discussions with my colleagues, none of my colleagues have received any representations from ACT people on this matter. That is not to say that there are not people out there who have concerns about this, but it was not until it has been raised by Ms Hunter. Apart from what has been happening in WA, this has not been a top-of-mind issue for the people of the ACT.
I commend Ms Hunter for bringing this matter forward today. I commend the spirit in which this is done. I reinforce that we believe that the motion has merits, but we have problems with the language and the sequencing. I commend my amendment to Ms Burch’s amendments, just to put some more process into this. I move:
Omit proposed paragraph (4)(a), substitute:
“(a) bring forward for debate in the Assembly any report emanating from the national inquiry, together with recommendations in light of that report, as to