THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
4TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE APOLOGY TO THE FORGOTTEN AUSTRALIANS & FORMER CHILD MIGRANTS
Events have been held around the country this week to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.
On 16 November 2009, the Australian Government apologised on behalf of the nation for the terrible abuse and neglect that was suffered by the estimated 500,000 Forgotten Australians and 7,000 Former Child Migrants in out-of-home-care last century.
On that day, our nation finally confronted a shameful truth. We opened our eyes to a harsh reality we had hidden from ourselves.
We said sorry to the survivors for the terrible abuse and neglect they suffered.
We said sorry for the childhoods they lost – void of the love, warmth and affection that every child deserves.
We said sorry for what happened then, but also for what came after – as a society spent too long keeping its back turned and its mind closed to this cruel chapter.
Sorry took too long to come – and for some, it came too late.
But the Apology did turn a new page – and it helped us to work together as we began righting past wrongs.
It is right that today, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating where institutions failed to protect children, and ensuring survivors can tell their story.
The former Labor Government was proud to invest more than $430 million in this year’s Budget to support the Royal Commission. Its recommendations will help ensure that survivors receive the support and justice they deserve.
And it is right that at least once a year, our nation pauses to reflect on this legacy of lost childhoods.
We can’t change the past – but we can make sure don’t forget it, and make certain that what happened then is never allowed to happen again.
FRIDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2013
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