Seventh Anniversary of the Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants

Another anniversary to reflect upon – seven years since the Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants on the 16 November 2009. While the investment in the Find and Connect suite of services and projects by the Commonwealth Department of Social Security has achieved much, the 2015 evaluation report reinforces that still much to do, particularly around access to records.

In his speech our current PM, Malcolm Turnbull, as opposition leader back then, highlighted the lack of care

Today we acknowledge that with broken hearts and breaking spirits you were left in the custody – we can hardly call it “care” – of too many people whose abuse and neglect of you, whose exploitation of you, made a mockery of their claim that you were taken from your own family “for your own good”.

The rights all children should have

We are sorry because we cannot restore to you the one thing to which all children should be entitled as a basic right – a safe and beloved childhood.

And the way that generations of systems let this community down

We are sorry because, across the generations, the system failed you; the nation failed you, by looking the other way.

Failing at such system and nation levels needs more than just incremental reform – although it is an essential start. How do we transform archival and recordkeeping infrastructure to ensure the identity, memory and accountability needs of all those who childhoods are impacted upon by child welfare and protection regimes are met?


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