Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ken Wyatt Thanks Kevin Rudd for his Apology to the Stolen Generation in his Maiden Speech in Parliament

Alternate WMA version | MP3 download
MARK COLVIN: This evening the nation's first Indigenous Member of Parliament Ken Wyatt has delivered his maiden speech in the House of Representatives.

He's paid tribute to his mother, who was a member of the Stolen Generations and thanked the former prime minister Kevin Rudd who was watching on.

KEN WYATT: When the former prime minister delivered the apology on the 13th of February 2008 in this chamber, I shed tears for my mother and her siblings (holding back tears).

My mother and her siblings, along with many others did not live to hear the words delivered in the apology, which would have meant a great deal to them individually.

I felt a sense of relief that the pain of the past had been acknowledged and that the healing could begin.

Mr Speaker at that point the standing orders prevented an Indigenous response. On behalf of my mother, her siblings, and all Indigenous Australians, I, as an Aboriginal voice, in this chamber say thank you for the apology delivered in the Federal Parliament. And I thank the honourable Kevin Rudd for honouring his commitment to the Stolen Generation.

MARK COLVIN: Ken Wyatt, the nation’s first Indigenous MP, delivering an emotional maiden speech in the Federal Parliament tonight.

ALAS would like to congratulate Ken Wyatt MP on his maiden speech. Ken recognised the importance of an Apology so that the healing could begin.

We hope the Federal Government can do the same for our White Stolen Babies taken from their mothers by forced adoption practices of the past.

ABC interview with Christine cole and Sue MacDonald speaking about the WA Government Apology

Here is the link to listen to this interview.
Congratulations ladies from ALAS.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Timetable for Western Australian Apology 19th October 2010

Some people outside of Australia have asked me when things are going to take place
on the 19th of October so that they can arrange to acknowledge the apology wherever
they are in the world. The apology is taking place in Perth, Western Australia and
so if you visit the world clock web site you can work out what time it will be where
you are. For those who are interested, this is the plan for the day:

Everyone will meet at the pergola on the southern side of Parliament at 2.00 pm and
then flowers will be laid in the sunken garden for all the children lost to
adoption. At 2.30 there will be a short speech and then one minute's silence will be
observed for all the mothers in Australia and around the world who have lost
children to adoption. At 2.40 everyone will make their way through the main entrance
to the House to hear the apology, which is expected to start at 3.00.

It is likely that the apology will be transmitted live on the government web site at:

Please be assured that those of us who are present for this historical event will be
thinking of all of you who are not able to be there.

Thanks Evelyn for the information

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update of Sue MacDonald's interview

Story went national - this we know.

Reuters have asked for copy so gone international.

Phone calls have been received from OTHER STATE GOVERNMENTS WHO ARE RESEARCHING

Here are the links to publications of WA Apology

Received: Tuesday, 7 September, 2010, 9:54 AM

Sound Bytes and References

SOUND BYTES AND REFERENCES: NB: This is not about adoption.
Christine A. Cole BSc.(Psy) Soc Hon LLB GDL

The Federal government has already admitted that there is a white stolen generation
The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Overseas Adoption in Australia: Report on the inquiry into adoption of children from overseas House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human Services November 2005 Canberra"The stigma associated with forced adoption practices in the past leading to the 'stolen generation' (both Indigenous and non indigenous mothers and children)" (p.2).

JM: What do you say to the fact that some mothers say there is a ‘white stolen generation’?

GR: It’s true … there is a white stolen generation as well as a black one. And if you look at the white generation numbers, there is a lot more of the white generation that were stolen than the black generation.

JM: Why then would it not be recognised?

GR: Oh, I think it is, in a way, but people do not want to open the door … it is almost too big a problem to deal with … if people had of opened the door to somebody proving that illegal things were done, it would have opened up a huge lot of problems for the Crown Law Department ... to undo a whole lot of things that happened … they want it to go away … it is a complication they could do without.

JM: You mean it is an inconvenient truth?

GR: It is an inconvenient truth …

(Extract from an interview with Dr Geoff Rickarby, 9 August 2007)

Gair, S. Missing Voices About a Foreign Place: Exploring midwifery practice with midwives who cared for single mothers and babies for adoption in Queensland (1960-1990). Journal of Inderdisciplinary Gender Studies Vol 10, 2, 2006/2007
(p.58) "Bernoth (1999) and Olsen (2004) identify that the moral bullying of Australian single mothers resulted in a 'white' stolen generation."

Children were kidnapped at birth
Chisholm Testimony NSW Inquiry into Past Adoptions

Whilst mothers and babies were falsely imprisoned
Chisholm as above

Drugged and traumatised then forced to sign consents -
Dr. Geoff Rickarby Testimony NSW Inquiry

many mothers, if they did not sign consents, were told their babies had died
(Elphic: 2000, p. 44; Report 21: 2000, p. 227; Report 22: 2000, pp. 145-146; Cheater: 2009, p. 182; Critchley: 2006, p. 113)

Damage was well known from the 50’s: The Report noted that:
“It is very desirable, however, both for the child’s physical health and for the mother’s psychological well-being that there should be greater facilities for unmarried mothers to keep their children with them for up to three months after birth….[and] that a document signifying the consent of a mother shall not be valid unless the infant is at least six weeks old when the consent is given, was intended to ensure that children below that age were not placed for adoption…we found little disagreement with the view that it is preferable for a child not to be taken away from his mother before the age of six weeks (Report of the Departmental Committee on the Adoption of Children: 1954, pp. 14-15).

In Australia in "1958 the Special Committee on Native Matters warned that `removal of a child from his mother at an early age can cause serious psychological and mental disturbances'. This warning was ignored” (WA Government submission page 26 cited in HREOCR Chapter 7).

WA child welfare Dept run a propaganda campaign that the babies of unwed mothers were unwanted - this was to make adoption palatable to society - as society would never have condoned the forced removal of newborns from their mothers.Dr. Rosemary Kerr The Appeal of Blue Eyes

Justice Richard Chisolm – Review of the Adoption of Children Act. Report No.69. He stated that the practices were illegal.

Cathleen Sherry, Lawyer and legal academic involved in the same Review Act., when it was conducted early 1990’s – wrote:
What these individual women were describing were not isolated incidences with atypical doctors and social workers: rather their experiences revealed systemic violations of human rights. The treatment they received from doctors, social workers, charitable organizations and government depts. violated their right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, free from discrimination, free from arbitrary interference with the family, as well as their right to be entitled to special protection as mothers

Chris Cole – reference from the book Releasing the Past:
“A primary principle of international law is that a child has the right to be brought up in its family of origin. This principle was supposed to have been followed in Australia. Further, a single mother was, and is, allowed by law and common human decency to have the right to see, hold and feed her infant. She had the right to name her child and to have unfettered access to her baby in the maternity hospital. When a child is born to a single mother, it is not subject to adoption legislation; its mother is the legal guardian and has the same rights as any other mother. Legally, the Adoption Act does not come into operation until the mother signs a ‘consent to adopt’ form and then only if the consent is informed and taken without duress or coercion. Separating a mother from her child, or placing pillows or sheets to obstruct the view she has of her baby at the birth in order to facilitate an adoption was, and continues to be, classed as coercion and is therefore illegal. Injecting mothers with drugs to dry up their milk immediately after the birth, without their permission, was and is illegal and deems to presume that the mother has already signed a ‘consent to adopt’ form. Dr. Geoff Rickarby has stated that the act of injecting a mother with stilboestrol immediately after the birth constitutes a major assault as mothers were not informed that this would occur and the routine ‘consent to necessary procedures’ that patients sign on being admitted to hospital would not cover the consent to have their milk dried up by an injection.

A mother was supposed to be warned of the ‘dire psychological consequences’ that could result because of her decision to relinquish her child. She was also supposed to be advised of all means of financial assistance available to her to assist her to keep her child. It was only after all alternatives to adoption and means of available support had been explored, and if the mother continued to insist on adoption, that the papers were brought to her to be signed. No decision was supposed to be made prior to the fifth day after the birth or if the mother was distressed. If the mother was not definite in her decision, she was legally entitled to leave the hospital with her baby and to make the decision weeks or months later.
INTERNATION LAW: Two fundamental principles in international adoptions (1960) were that:

careful consideration should be given to all possible alternatives before a child is removed from his own relatives for adoption,


parents should be warned of the legal and psychological consequences

that might result from adoption. These principles were re-stated in Australia by the Minister for Child Welfare (1961):

… the child must be protected from unnecessary separation from his own family and that there should be no attempt to persuade the natural parents to place the child.

Many mothers were given large doses of drugs prior to and after the birth, often right up until they signed the ‘consent to adopt’ form. Some of the drugs used were: sodium amytal, chloral hydrate and sodium pentobarbitone; all of which are mind-altering barbiturates. The curtailing of mothers’ rights and the above coercive practices meant that by 1972 there were nearly 10000 babies adopted by non-relatives in Australia. This extraordinarily high number of adoptions was a social aberration that did not occur before the 1960s and rapidly declined with the rise of the women’s movement in the early 1970s. Christine Cole -Reference from the book Releasing the Past.

Report 22 NSW Standing Committee on social issues. - NSW Inquiry into Past Adoption Practices

7.61 Mothers argued that the practice denied their legal rights as guardian of the child, explained above, the Health Commission stated that the mother was the legal guardian of the child until the signing of the consent form. Justice Richard Chisholm agreed that the mother remained guardian of the child until she gave consent and that preventing her from having access to the child prior to the consent “would not have been authorized.”

7.62 The Committee therefore believes that the practice of denying a mother access to her child prior to the signing of consent was unlawful. Those professionals who contributed to the process where access was denied were clearly acting unlawfully.

Recommendation 17

The departments, private agencies, churches, hospitals, professional organizations and individuals involved in past adoption practices should be encouraged to issue a formal apology to the mothers, fathers, adoptees and their families who have suffered as a result of past adoption practices.

It is only when the suffering of those most directly damaged by a socio-cultural disaster are heard that there is any opportunity for a Nation to evaluate a malign aspect of its own development. In the instance of the thousands of Australian young mothers who lost a baby to adoption in the latter half of the last century, the distress and consequences are little known because they were dealt with one by one, and, at the time, mostly isolated from their family, partner and friends.
Geoffery A. Rickarby MB BS FRANZCP MANZAP Member of the Faculty of Child Psychiatry RANZCP(A PSYCHIATRIST WHO HAS SEEN ALL ASPECTS OF ADOPTION OVER 35 YEARS) reference from the book “Releasing the Past.

Conclusion – Chris Cole
During the NSW Inquiry (1998-2000) into past practices in adoption, representatives of an Indigenous group that facilitates re-uniting Indigenous mothers with their stolen children gave evidence. They stated that Indigenous mothers were brutally separated from their infants at the birth. Those babies were subsequently adopted or fostered out. The removal of their children was undertaken by the same social workers and medical staff (in the same institutions and under the same laws), who were involved in the theft of white babies. They further stated that there was a common theme between the black and white stolen generations. For instance, Indigenous mothers told them of the use of pillows and sheets to obstruct their view of their baby at the birth with the intention to interrupt bonding, and of being forced to sign consents before allowed to leave hospitals while under the influence of drugs: the same procedures used to gain white mothers’ babies. There has never been any question that these families are part of the stolen generation – and thankfully they have been apologized too – the loss of these mothers and their families has never been dismissed as social mores or explained away by statements such as the mothers did not have recourse to financial benefits.

Furthermore it is now well established that money had been available to assist single mothers to keep their babies since 1912. From 1923 onwards single mothers were given the same financial assistance as deserted wives. The different outcome for single mothers though was that there was no Governmental push to remove the babies of deserted wives or widows – the reality was that white single mothers without family support, orphaned or migrant were preyed upon, our rights extinguished and for that we want and deserve an apology. NB this not about adoption – this is about how our children were stolen at birth, without our consent, this is a human and civil rights crime against mothers’ and their babies and should be acknowledged as such.

Christine A. Cole BSc.(Psy) Soc Hon LLB GDL

Birth Certificate reads: "Baby; Unknown

On Tuesday,14th September 2010, we had the previllidge of witnessing a mother give her baby his name.
This baby is now 35 years old.
A young teenage mum was told she could not name her baby, the reason for this was, she was unmarried.

Many hospitals and court registars took it upon themselves to deny a mother her right to name her baby.
Adoptees grew up with the knowledge that the mothers couldn't be bothered naming them,THEY WERE WRONG.

Yesterday here in Queensland, this couragous and determined mother had her right to name her baby fulfilled.The baby has always had a name but it wasn't officially recognised.
We do not know if it is another "first" but with the help from Births/ Deaths/ and Marriages, this mother had her son's name placed on his original Birth Certificate.
We were told that it is a case by case decision to amend a Birth Certificate but it is not impossible.

Monday, September 13, 2010

18th September Meeting

Our September meeting is a northside meeting.
We will be celebrating the Western Australian Apology to be delivered in parliament 19th October at 4pm western Australia time.

Please bring a plate.
All welcome.
Please ring; Trish, 0417 077 159
Marg, 0402 336 480

Friday, September 3, 2010

Unmarried Mums get State Apology

Unmarried mums get State apology
DANIEL EMERSON, The West Australian September 1, 2010, 6:32 am

The State's apology to unmarried mothers illegally separated from their babies under
harsh adoption practices is set to happen within weeks.

WA is to become the first State or Federal government worldwide to admit hospital
and welfare authorities were wrong to immediately separate mothers from their babies
after giving birth out of wedlock. Mothers from around Australia keen to hear the
apology have been told it will be delivered in Parliament on October 19.

Experts say tens of thousands of WA babies were adopted illegally when their
unmarried mothers were prevented from seeing, touching, naming or bonding with their
children immediately after birth between the 1940s and the early 1980s.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the exact format of the apology was still being
finalised but it would be "to unmarried mothers of adopted children who were
adversely affected by past adoption practices".

Christine Cole, of the NSW-based Apology Alliance, said it was also important for
the Government to say sorry to the children taken. "They were denied their family of
origin and the culture of that family," she said.