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Woy Woy woman applauds stolen generation apology

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Wed, 07/18/2012 - 12:57
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Robin Turner has been instrumental in a senate inquiry into forced adoption. SUE GRAHAM

The federal government will issue a formal apology to those affected by forced adoption practices in the 1950s to 1970s, thanks largely to the efforts of a Woy Woy woman.

For almost 45 years, Robin Turner has been living with the grief of having her baby son stolen from her hours after his birth and her work helped spark a recently completed Senate inquiry into the children removed from their mothers.

Thousands of young single mothers were forced to hand over their babies for adoption from the '50s to the '70s by state and territory authorities and private institutions because of the social prejudices of the day.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the inquiry and subsequent report confirmed the need for the government to acknowledge the suffering of parents and children involved in the distressing episode.

"I am thrilled that the government has decided to acknowledge this pain and suffering," Ms Turner said.

"If by this apology happening it helps just one mother and her child to be reunited into a working relationship, then it has been successful. By giving us a public apology the government is also acknowledging the unlawful removal of our children."

HEALING THE PAIN

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said an apology would be delivered on behalf of the nation as a significant step in the healing process for those affected with a special reference group including birth parents and adoptees to help develop its exact timing and nature.

``I am very pleased that distinguished former Family Court judge and Adjunct Professor of Law at Monash University Nahum Mushin has agreed to chair this group,'' she said.

The group is expected to meet soon to begin work on the process to an apology.

The government will continue to consider the report's other recommendations, including support services for those affected.

whereilive.com.au

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Lukes Dad's picture

A WOY Woy woman has been a driving force behind a campaign which has called on the federal government to apologise for forced adoptions.

For almost 45 years Robin Turner has been living with the grief of having her baby son stolen from her hours after his birth. Her work helped spark a recently completed senate inquiry into the “stolen children”.

Thousands of young single mothers were forced to hand over their babies for adoption from the 1950s to the 70s by state and territory authorities and private institutions because of the social prejudices of the day.

For Ms Turner the experience was doubly horrific.

Her son was taken from her side immediately after birth in 1967, and for three weeks she fought with authorities and refused to sign adoption papers even though she was kept sedated to make her more compliant.

“I was only 17 but I fought tooth and nail to keep my baby and then, three weeks after his birth, I was told he had died during a kidney operation,” she said. “I was absolutely devastated.”

For 40 years Ms Turner, who did not have any other children, mourned her infant son - until he called her in 2008. “They forged my signature on the adoption papers, told me my child was dead, and he ended up as a state ward, suffering abuse,” she said.

Alliance of heartbroken mums and lost children
STILL working at mending fences with her son, who had been told all his life his mother abandoned him, Ms Turner has dedicated herself in recent years to the Apology Alliance.

The alliance is an umbrella group established by Christine Cole comprising various groups representing the deprived mothers and the stolen children.

While some of the groups are seeking financial compensation, all Ms Turner wants is an apology from the federal government.

``It is so very important to receive this apology so our children will finally understand that we were forced into surrendering them,’’ she said.

Ms Turner is hopeful of one day reconciling fully with her son, and the three grand-daughters she has never met.

She has also approached Robertson federal Labor MP Deb O’Neill to ensure copies of the report are made available in all libraries on the Central Coast.

She urged women who were deprived of their children to seek help.

``Many of these women are still suffering. Help is available through Central Coast Mental Health on 43203500 or 1800 011 511.’‘

Support the Apology Alliance via its facebook site.

Committee says government must take blame
AMONG the recommendations of the senate inquiry into forced adoption were:
THE federal government issue a formal statement of apology identifying actions and policies which resulted in forced adoption;
THE government acknowledge, on behalf of the nation, the harm suffered by many parents whose children were forcibly removed and by the children who were separated from their parents;
STATE and territory governments and non-government institutions which administered forced adoptions should issue similar apologies;
STATE and federal governments help by providing professional support and counselling; and
THE federal government lead discussionsnts with states and territories to consider financial reparation.