Page 4402 - Week 10 - Thursday, 22 September 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

It was clear that everyone agreed that as well as being a food producing place, it would also be an educational place, and there was a lot of discussion about which of those would be more important. One of the more interesting things was that there were a couple of people who came who actually were substantive landholders, and there is clearly some large-scale commercial interest in the idea of allotments, community farms or land share. Whichever concept is used, it the idea of people who live in Canberra being able to have access to small to medium-sized plots of land where they can grow things for themselves and be part of a community.

Adoption policies

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (6.32): I would like to briefly draw to the attention of the Assembly that this afternoon the Senate community affairs committee held public hearings in Canberra into the commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices. As members will recall, the Assembly passed a motion in October last year into this issue and resolved that the Assembly noted the Western Australian parliament resolution recognising that past adoption practices, such as the immediate removal of babies following birth and preventing bonding with the mother, have caused long-term anguish and suffering for the people affected.

The Assembly supported a national inquiry into the forcible removal of babies from their mothers for adoption or institutional care and a national apology to those affected; and called on the ACT government to apologise on behalf of the ACT Legislative Assembly and the community to those ACT residents who have been affected by forcible removal practices.

The Senate committee has already held four other public hearings across Australia and has scheduled two additional days for public hearings in Canberra next Tuesday and Wednesday. The committee has received more than 300 submissions on the issue, and I would encourage members to have a look at those submissions. They range from some very harrowing tales of what happened to individual mothers and their children to academic work that considers a range of commonwealth policies and the impacts they had. I refer as an example to the joint submission of Monash University and the Australian Catholic University.

I would also like to draw members’ attention to many of the suggestions for ways forward to address what happened, and the very positive recommendations that will go some way to helping the many thousands of Australians who have suffered.

I would also like to make the point that while the majority of babies that were taken from their young unmarried mothers were put up for adoption, there are a number who were put into institutions, and many of those suffered terribly.

The Greens are, of course, very pleased that the national inquiry is taking place, and I have written to the chair of the Senate committee, Senator Rachel Siewert, drawing the committee’s attention to the ACT resolution and the particular impact that the inquiry will have for the ACT, as we were managed by the commonwealth government during the time that these horrible events occurred.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video