Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Special arrangements for national apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants

Special arrangements are being made to cater for the hundreds of people expected at Parliament House on Monday when a national apology will be offered by the Prime Minister to the half a million children who grew up in institutions, orphanages and foster care.

Around 900 Forgotten Australians, former child migrants and their families have registered to attend in Canberra.

Around the country events acknowledging and celebrating the national apology are also being planned by state and territory governments and care leaver organisations.

The national apology will go some way to making amends for the past experiences of children who suffered the loss of family, the loss of identity and, in the case of former child migrants, the loss of their country.

Many Forgotten Australian and former child migrants have suffered from a system that did not adequately provide for, or protect children in its care.

On Monday, all Australians have the opportunity to come together to say that what happened was wrong, that we are sorry it happened and that as a nation we must never let this happen again.

The ceremony has been moved from the Members’ Hall to the Great Hall in Parliament House so more people can see the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader offer a bi-partisan apology.

The proceedings are scheduled to begin at 11.00am.

The apology will be tabled in the House of Representatives and the Senate at 12.30pm, and guests will be invited to watch the proceedings from the public galleries or on the screens in the Great Hall.

All Forgotten Australians and former child migrants are invited to attend the apology, as well as their families and friends. Counsellors will be available on the day.

Following the apology, lunch and celebrations are planned on the lawns in front of Parliament House. Entertainment from Anne Kirkpatrick (daughter of country music legends Slim Dusty and Joy McKean) will start from 1.00 pm.

ABC and Sky will broadcast the event live across Australia on television.

In addition to the Australian Government’s sponsorship of more than 200 guests for travel and accommodation, the New South Wales Government is providing free train travel to Canberra for registered guests living in New South Wales.

Greyhound Australia is offering half price tickets for Forgotten Australians and former child migrants who are travelling to Canberra for the event.

The main entrance of Parliament House will be open from 9.00am. Morning tea will be served from 9.30am in the Marble Foyer and doors to the Great Hall will open at 10.30am.

Due to the large number of guests expected to attend, parking at Parliament House may be difficult. Alternative parking will be available at the Canberra Glassworks car park (11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore). A shuttle bus will take guests to Parliament House. Last bus leaves at 10.15 am.

For more information please visit or call 1800 634 147.