The official government and church-run policy of forcibly removing the newborn babies of single mothers and adopting them out to married couples was widespread in the latter half of the 20th Century in Tasmania.
Unwed mothers were told their babies would be better off without them.
The pain this separation caused lingers to this day.
Tens of thousands of mothers and children across Australia were illegally separated at birth and their records sealed. These women spent their lives feeling the guilt and shame of giving up their babies. Their children suffered loss, confusion and pain all their lives. Many would never be reunited with their mothers. They would never know that love.
While nothing can bring back the years denied mothers and their children, acknowledging the wrongs perpetrated by the state on its citizens can begin a healing process. When a Senate Inquiry recommended an official apology, from each Australian jurisdiction, to those affected by forced adoptions, the Tasmanian Greens called for this formal apology in the Tasmanian Parliament.
The Tasmanian Greens recognised that 'sorry' can be a very powerful word and that it would mean much to families torn apart by the past forced adoptions' policy. We highlighted the importance of an apology to the victims in the Tasmanian Parliament and continued to press the case until the day it was delivered to a crowded and deeply emotional Public Gallery.
While there is more to be done for those affected by the unjust, unlawful adoption practices of the past, Tasmania's apology was an important step for many of those whose lives were damaged by the harsh and judgmental morality of the times.
In a power-sharing Parliament, the Greens worked cooperatively to ensure victims of past forced adoptions were given the recognition that they did no wrong.