How the Senate Inquiry was Got
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nswinquiry1.jpg
Origins members demonstrating outside NSW Parliament 1997

How the Senate Inquiry Evolved

 

Origins acknowledges all those that have taken part in the long struggle for justice for forced, illegal and harmful adoption.

Origins also acknowledges that not any one individual is solely responsible for the justice that saw the Senate Inquiry and the National Forced Adoption Apology.

The Long Campaign

Following the New South Wales Inquiry report “Releasing the Past”(2000) and its subsequent whitewashing it was evident that Origins needed to pursue a national inquiry. The New South Wales inquiry had taken its toll on the committee of Origins. Origins was left with very few members of its executive and it was up to them after the NSW inquiry to continue to try and get justice for those affected by forced adoption.

The very few recommendations that came from the inquiry were sabotaged or diminished by those in government and those with self-interest to ensure that illegal and harmful adoption practices would never be acknowledged.

To follow on from the 2 year Parliamentary inquiry Origins needed to either expand or dissolve, and due to the movement that was created by Origins and the extensive research into the legal and mental health issues by Dian Wellfare and Wendy Jacobs it was decided that we would mount a campaign to obtain a national inquiry and educate the wider community not only on the illegal practices but also the mental health damage caused to mothers and their taken children

It was decided that Origins would host a world first mental health conference on the effects of adoption separation, the Stolen Generations and the Forgotten Australians.

It was during this time in the lead up to the first national mental health conference that Origins was in discussion with Senator Andrew Murray who at the time was involved with the Child Migrants Inquiry[1].  The landmark conference was held at Liverpool Hospital in 2002 and co presented with CLAN.

Senator Murray was keen to work with Origins and to call for a Senate Inquiry into illegal adoption. It was at this time that Lily Arthur stood as a Federal candidate for the Democrats Party for the seat of Prospect lobbying not only Senator Murray and Aidan Ridgeway, but also senators from the Liberal and Labor parties.

It was at this time that Care Leaver Australia Network CLAN was evolving and Senator Murray put his efforts into a senate inquiry for what is now known as Forgotten Australians in 2003, leaving Origins to find another political ally.

2002; Meetings were held in Canberra with Jan McLucas (Labor MP) to discuss a national inquiry for forced adoption.

2003; Origins presented 3 submissions from NSW, Qld and Victoria to the Forgotten Australians Inquiry calling for a national inquiry into illegal adoption.

2004; Saw the release of the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children[2].

2004;  Also saw Origins lobbying the Liberal Party senators Connie Ferravanti –Wells, Marise Payne, Helen Coonan and Tony Abbott with Lily Arthur standing as a Liberal candidate for the federal election on the issue of forced adoption. Senator Ferravanti -Wells visiting the Origins office at Bonnyrigg to discuss how to go about gaining support for a national Inquiry.

2004; Origins in conjunction with the mental health Association of Queensland Origins held its second National Mental Health Conference on forced adoption the Stolen Generations and the Forgotten Australians

December. The landmark court case of Arthur versus Queensland raised national interest in the issue of forced adoption and gained widespread media publicity on the issue with Lily Arthur’s story being recorded in a national magazine Woman’s Day.

The subsequent award winning documentary “Gone to a Good Home”[3] based on this court case and the stories of mothers, adoptees and fathers separated by adoption went global and was viewed on prime time TV in 2006 and at film festivals across the globe. It was later repeated on pay TV in prime time.

2005; The Senate released a second report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children released from care. Again Origins gave evidence in Sydney in front of Senator Claire Moore again calling for a national inquiry into force adoption.

Origins presents submissions to Senate inquiries into "Stolen Wages" and "Transparent Advertising and Notification of Pregnancy Counselling Services” Bill 2005.

November, Origins also gave evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry into overseas adoption in Australia[4] once again raising the issue of forced adoption and again calling for a national inquiry.

2006 -2008; Origins gave evidence at the Senate Committee on Mental Health, bringing to the committee an awareness of the mental health damage caused by past of unlawful adoption practices[5].

In October 2006, the third Origins National Mental Health conference was held in Victoria at the Melbourne Town Hall, once again attended by those affected by forced adoption, the Stolen Generations and the Forgotten Australians.

Dian Wellfare Founder of Origins Dian Wellfare Passes away 16th April.

2009: September Origins launches its on-line petition to call for a Senate Inquiry[6].

August; the committee of Origins was summoned to Canberra by Minister Jenny Macklin and was offered "whatever we wanted" if Origins mothers of "forced adoption" accepted being part of the Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants Apology. We soundly rejected this proposal demanding our own Senate Inquiry so that those affected by illegal adoption could tell their stories.

After a media campaign by Origins, the notion of including mothers of adoption theft in the apology was dropped by the government.

November 16th; was The Forgotten Australians Apology where on the day Origins met in Parliament house Canberra with Tony Abbott to ask the Liberal party to support a national enquiry. He agrees to do so.

Late 2009; The Federal Government initiates the Institute of Family Studies to report on "Past Forced Adoption" with Origins Inc to provide the Institute with our many years of research to the report. Discussions in Canberra with Federal politicians and Senators for a Senate Inquiry

2010 June; Origins initial response to the Australian Institute of Family Studies "Impact of Past Adoption” report[7]. Origins rejects this report[8].

Lily Arthur appeared for a 20 minute appearance on the Kerri Ann Kennelly Morning show asking for a national inquiry

2010 June; Senator Rachael Siewert of the Greens Party puts forward a motion in the Senate for an apology that recognises the grief, pain and anguish suffered by thousands of mothers who were victims of forced adoption[9].

The Senate votes it down.

October 19; West Australian Apology where unlawful adoption practises were acknowledged, only due to the lobbying and media campaign of the Origins committee subsequently inducing Senator Rachael Siewet to call for a national inquiry.

Monday, 15 November 2010; Senator Siewert called a motion for a Senate Inquiry[10] which and it passes, thus leading to an inquiry held for eighteen months that hears evidence overwhelmingly from members of Origins, who preceded their submission with a preamble placing onus on the Commonwealth for the responsibility of forced adoption practices and policies.

2012 February 29th; The Senate Inquiry into Forced Adoptions report is handed down[11]. Origins members turn out in force in Canberra to hear the Senate Committee validate the Origins perspective of forced adoption and to speaks with the world media, including the BBC and a US documentary maker on Forced Adoption.

2013 March 21st: Prime Minster Julia gave a national apology, as recommended in the Senate report into forced adoption, Origins arranged travel and accommodation for over 120 people to attend  

See Origins Timeline for more of our history  

http://www.originsnsw.com/timeline.html

 

 



[1] Lost Innocents: Righting the Record. Report on Child Migration August 2001

[2] Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children released (August 2004)

[3] Gone to a Good Home”  Documentary “2005” Film Australia

[4]  Overseas adoption in Australia (2005) The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human services

[5] Select Committee on Mental Health National approach to mental health- from crisis to community March 2006 and follow up report, Community Affairs Towards recovery”: mental health services in Australia Senate Committee report September 2008

[6] http://www.originsnsw.com//senatepetition.html

[7] http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/publications-articles/impact-of-past-adoption-practices-summary-of-key-issues-from-australian-research

[11] Community Affairs References Committee “Former forced adoption policies and practices February 2012   



 

 

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Origins SPSA Inc is an unfunded organisation that relies on the memberships and donations of those that support adoption advocacy. It has not been funded by Federal, State or Church to promote adoption awareness and to the support the aims and objectives of Origins. We rely on those that believe in truth and justice for those affected by past practices, we have a large resource library that is considered to be a national asset that has enabled us to make Federal and State governments accountable for past unlawful practices .  To support us make a donation or join us, a link is available at the bottom of this page to make a contribution