National Apology for Forced Adoptions: 10th Anniversary

STATEMENT - FEDERATION CHAMBER

I rise to share with the House a story I heard today when attending the morning tea after Minister Rishworth's statement on the 10-year anniversary that we commemorated here today. I met Betty Mills. Betty shared with me her story. She also told me that she had made a submission to the UK government inquiry 'The right to family life: adoption of children of unmarried women 1949-1976'. I'll use her words:

The experience of being a mother who went through adoption has had a long-lasting impact on me. There was no respect for women or children in this situation. In 1953 when I became pregnant it was considered almost a criminal offence. Babies of unmarried women were labelled "illegitimate" and mothers were deemed to be unfit to be mothers.

I want to thank Minister Rishworth, and I want to mark the importance of Labor women in this place. I want to thank former attorney-general Nicola Roxon and former prime minister Julia Gillard for seeing this through our parliament a decade ago, while people—children, mothers and sometimes fathers—are still waiting in the UK. I think it all speaks for itself.

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