Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Chair of Past Forced Adoptions Working Group

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
    Minister for Emergency Management
    Special Minister of State
    Minister for the Public Service and Integrity

An eminent person closely involved in the national apology on forced adoptions has been appointed to chair the working group charged with helping deliver on the Australian Government’s commitments to provide better support for Australians impacted by past forced adoption practices.

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, today announced Adjunct Professor Nahum Mushin as the chair of the Australian Government’s Past Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group.

Professor Mushin previously chaired the Forced Adoptions Apology Reference Group.

“Professor Mushin has a deep understanding of past forced adoptions and has played a pivotal role in helping give a voice to those affected,” Ms Collins said.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC welcomed the appointment of Professor Mushin as a significant step towards realising the Government’s commitments.

“The Implementation Working Group will help ensure we make a practical difference in the lives of those affected by this dark episode in our nation’s history,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“I want to thank Professor Mushin for contributing his time and expertise to this important process.”

Ms Collins said, “We will consult with stakeholders around the selection of members of the Implementation Working Group.”

The establishment of the Working Group follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s National Apology for Forced Adoptions on 21 March this year.

As part of the national apology, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry Report into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices.

“This included establishing a forum for mothers, fathers, adult adoptees and others who have been affected to have a voice,” Ms Collins said.

“This forum will also provide advice to Government about how best to meet the needs of those affected.

“We have also invested $11.5 million over the next four years in a number of initiatives to help this process.”

The Government initiatives include:

  • $5m for improved access to specialist support services (counselling)
  • $5m for training and guidelines for mental health professionals
  • $1.5m for the National Archives to deliver a Forced Adoption Experiences history Project to record the experiences of those affected by forced adoption and increase awareness and understanding
  • Working cooperatively with state and territory governments to resolve issues relating to integrated birth certificates, investigation of harmonisation and access to jurisdictional Birth, Death and marriage registers.

“Together with the national apology, these measures will deliver better support for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices and assist in the healing process,” Ms Collins said.