Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants

The Australian Government delivered a formal apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants at a special remembrance event in Canberra on Monday 16 November 2009.

A ceremony was held in the Great Hall in Parliament House where the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition apologised, on behalf of the nation, to more than 500,000 Australians – many of whom suffered abuse and neglect while in out-of-home care during the last century.

The speeches acknowledged that the treatment of these children was unacceptable and conveyed a sincere hope that the national acknowledgement of their trauma would help to begin the healing process. The apology acknowledged that what happened in the past was both real and wrong. It has helped to ensure that a largely invisible part of our history is put firmly on the record and served as a reminder of what happened to many of these children – the loss of family, the loss of identity and, in the case of child migrants, the loss of their country.

The apology also recognised that many Forgotten Australians and former child migrants continue to face a range of complex issues, including mental and physical illness, homelessness, substance abuse, educational and family relationship difficulties, as a result of their experiences in out-of-home care. As announced by the Prime Minister, a number of new initiatives have been developed to cater to the unique needs of these Australians.


A transcript of the Prime Minister’s address at the apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants in the Great Hall, Parliament House is available.

Questions and Answers

A list of questions and answers about the apology is also available.

Source: Website of the Prime Minister of Australia
Theme: Australian history and race relations – Migration and refugees