Historically there were interventions into families that were extremely unwise and as a result many people today feel disconnected from their families. During these dark days there was essentially two groups of people who had their children removed from them: (a) any Aboriginal child that came to the department attention was systematically removed from their parents; (b) any non aboriginal child born out of wedlock that came to the department’s attention was removed from their mother.

The purpose of the removal of Aboriginal children from their parents was to create a break between the child and the Aboriginal culture; this was and remains an appalling reason for and intervention by the department, an undisclosed number of persons were affected by this appalling policy and in recent years there have been some attempts to compensate survivors from this appalling policy that unfortunately and the handling of this process has only had a low level success rate and the historical anger has not been dealt with effectively. Greater care and attention to the details of the recovery from this appalling situation must be implemented so as to demonstrate that all Aboriginal people in Australia are equal in every way to all other Australians. We have not as yet done that in a balanced and culturally sensitive way.

The purpose of the removal of non-Aboriginal children was to prevent the rise of single parent families, because at the time it was deemed that all children must have a father and a mother, yet there were many families where a spouse was left by themselves due to divorce, separation, death and abandonment and none of these things were taken into consideration by the members of the parliament at the time. This again was and remains an appalling situation. Thankfully there were not many children affected by this, though a young pregnant woman would be sent away to a more remote circumstances (usually a farm environment) and a relative would register the birth of the child as if they were the mother of the child, in this way the actual mother could have direct contact with their child. This policy again has caused many real issues to those involved and caught up within this appalling policy. Thankfully it has been discontinued a long time ago.

Policy position:

Those still affected by this appalling historical policy should be given all the assistance that they can to discover whom their natural parents are and their family’s natural relatives. We support the apology that was given to the Aboriginal peoples since this policy was done for the most appalling reasons ever considered by the Australian Parliament. If there are ongoing issues as a result of this problem then the New Department of Home Affairs will be empowered to carefully and culturally do what is possible to alleviate any continuing problems for all communities in regard to these matters.