Editorial - Betrayal of young was shameful
Gold Coast Bulletin
MISTAKES of the past need to be remedied - as much as the passage of time allows.
That was the basis for the National Sorry Day and for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's official apology to the Stolen Generation.
It is also the motivation for yesterday's parliamentary apology to survivors of child abuse in state and church-run orphanages.
Children were taken from families around Australia and even from Britain, and placed in state care.
What happened from that point for way too many of them is unforgivable.
Their trust was abused along with their bodies and minds. These institutions masquerading as carers turned into prisons.
The Forgotten Australians come from an era not too long ago that we would normally associate with a Third World slave camp or Dickensian England.
Just how it happened like that is almost beyond the comprehension of reasonable, thinking people. But happen it did.
So Mr Rudd and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull are doing their bit to remedy these mistakes. Their bipartisan public statement on the national stage has brought closure and recognition to many.
Tasmania has already offered compensation. Other states will follow. Queensland's sins of the past are still bubbling to the surface, with the litany of accusations surrounding the Neerkol orphanage the most graphic.
The fear of financial compensation should not inhibit further progress in righting wrongs.
The affected parents and children of forced adoptions are also seeking address as National Adoption Awareness Week kicks in.
But it is not money they are after. It is recognition that they were hard done by and should have been treated better.
It is a consistent argument permeating the social ills of Australian history, which generally, as a community, we have preferred not to talk about.
The advocates of Adoption Awareness are calling for a change of attitudes and understanding.
Actress Deborra-Lee Furness, the face of the campaign, said: "Past practices allowed secrecy and shame to overshadow the need for transparency and acceptance and this has placed a huge burden on our adopted children."
The awareness week, with the slogan A Call to Action, would help to 'destigmatise this issue that has been prevalent for too long'.
To some extent, major strides were made earlier this year when the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital apologised to mothers who were forced to adopt out babies without proper support or information.
However, simply saying sorry does not make an immediate tangible difference to any of these complex issues, let's be honest.
But when the evidence of wrongdoing is so great, not saying sorry is out of the question.