Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants – Doorstop, Canberra Airport

*** E & OE – Proof only ***

JENNY MACKLIN: I am very pleased to be here at Canberra Airport, welcoming members of the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants who are flying in today from many parts of Australia, to join the Prime Minster in what will be a very emotional national apology.

Recognising that what was done to around half a million Australians, Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, was very, very wrong, very real, and caused an enormous amount of pain. People who are arriving today are indicating how significant today is for them, that they are able to come to Canberra and they are very much looking forward to tomorrow’s apology.

JOURNALIST: Is there a need for compensation or reparations?

JENNY MACKLIN: There are different views about this issue. The Federal Government has made our position clear. We won’t be providing compensation, but we do recognise that there are many things that we can do. We’ve already provided some assistance for counselling support.

We have provided some funding for the National Library to collect the stories and provide an oral history record. It’s very important that people’s stories are told. We’ve also provided support to the different organisations that have been so important to both Forgotten Australians and to former child migrants.

We do understand how important it is for people to be able to find their families and so we’re keen to find out what additional support can be provided in that regard. Some of the States, some of the churches and former providers have already made reparations, or put in place redress schemes and it’s our view that that’s where that responsibility lies.

JOURNALIST: But are they doing enough? I mean in Ireland, I think the victims of similar sort of problems got $150,000 cash. Nobody in Australia has got anything approaching that.

JENNY MACKLIN: There is a range of different schemes that have been put in place in Australia. Some by the churches, some by other providers and some by the States. So, that really is a matter for them.