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||Adoption: parliamentary inquiry
||1 May 2003
In 2000 the then Minister for Community Services, the Honourable Christine Campbell, wrote to
Origins Victoria and advised that the government had made a commitment to hold an inquiry into past adoption practices during
'this term of government' - that is, the last term of government. I therefore call on the government to honour these very
clear commitments and to initiate an inquiry into past adoption practices in Victoria.
||Adoption: parliamentary inquiry
||5 June 2003 |
5 June 2003 COUNCIL
Hon. W. A. LOVELL (North Eastern) - The question I raise through the Minister for Sport and Recreation
is for the attention of the Premier in the other place. Over the next two days a group of women in my electorate has organised
a statewide conference for a group known as Origins Victoria. Origins Victoria was formed here in Parliament House at a meeting
held on 20 February 1998 at which over 100 women called for a parliamentary inquiry into past adoption practices in Victoria.
Following that meeting the group worked with the then shadow Minister for Community Services,
the Honourable Christine Campbell, to achieve the inquiry. The inquiry became part of the ALP's women's and community services
policy for the 1999 election.
Following the election the then Minister for Community Services wrote to Origins to inform the
group that the government had made a commitment to hold the inquiry during that term of government.
The need for an inquiry came about because Victorian women who had experienced the pain of losing
children to adoption alleged that illegal and unnecessary practices were used to enable the adoptions to take place: practices
that were not allowed under the Adoption Act. These women believed an inquiry would allow them to have their allegations heard
and examined, and it was hoped this would enable healing to eventuate and maybe bring some sort of closure to what had been
the most traumatic event of their lives. Three and a half years later these women are still waiting. The government promised
them an inquiry and has cruelly failed to deliver it. In April I wrote to the Minister for Community Services and the Minister
for Women's Affairs on behalf of these women, and to date I have not received a response from either.
The trauma of being promised an inquiry that now seems to have been snatched away from them
- as cruelly as their children were - has only added to the pain and suffering these women face every day. I call upon the
Premier to take action to ensure that his election promise to hold this inquiry is fulfilled and to prevent any further pain
and suffering for these women.
Community services: past adoption practices
232. Mr MAUGHAN to ask the Honourable the Minister for Community Services -
- (1) Was the decision not to proceed with an inquiry into past adoption practices made by the Minister or by Cabinet.
- (2) On what date was that decision made.
- (3) Given that Origins Victoria were responsible for seeking an inquiry (through the then Shadow Minister prior to the
1999 election), why were they not consulted for their input prior to the decision being taken not to conduct the inquiry.
- (4) Were any interest groups other than the Association of Relinquishing Mothers consulted; if so, who were they and were
they for or against such an inquiry.
After careful consideration, the Government decided during its first term, that an Inquiry into past adoption
practices was not the best way forward. This decision was made by the previous Minister, and is supported by the Premier and
I acknowledge the role of Origins as a support group for mothers whose children were adopted in the past.
Representatives of Origins have met with Government and with senior Department of Human Services staff to discuss these issues.
Alternatives to an Inquiry were offered to Origins, to provide an opportunity for birth mothers to raise
issues about past adoption practices and the impact that this has on their lives. However, Origins has advised that these
alternatives are not acceptable to their members, and on the basis of this advice, the Government will not proceed with these
Adoption is a complex area which goes to the heart of family formation, and as such arouses strong feelings
in many people. The Government is aware that there are diverse views within the adoption community about a range of matters.
The Association of Relinquishing Mothers has made it clear that it opposes an Inquiry because of the potential emotional burden
on birth mothers, and concerns that it would be divisive and confronting to other parties.
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