Opposition welcomes inquiry into historical forced adoption 

Feb 21, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

The National-Liberal Opposition has welcomed the State Government’s support of a parliamentary inquiry into historical forced adoptions in WA. 

Over the past two years, the Opposition has consistently called for an independent inquiry into the horrific practices which occurred between the 1940s and 1980s. 

Last week, Shadow Child Protection Minister Libby Mettam also wrote to the Premier urging him to prioritise the inquiry into the forced removal of newborn babies from their unwed mothers. 

“After calls for an inquiry previously falling on deaf ears, it is pleasing that the new Child Protection Minister has decided to support those women and their adult sons and daughters affected by this heartless practice,” Ms Mettam said. 

“Hopefully this will bring a degree of understanding and potential reconnection for those who have lifelong unresolved issues because of this practice. 

“This is a dark chapter in our past that affected 200,000 women and adopted adults. Many of those women were treated appallingly and have never been able to tell their sons and daughters that they were not willingly given up. 

“Similarly, many of the adopted adults did not know they were adopted and have struggled with a sense of connection, belonging and understanding. 

“This inquiry is a vital step in acknowledging the trauma and pain experienced by those affected by this cruel practice and to give them a platform to tell their stories.” 

Ms Mettam said she hoped the inquiry would also result in legislative reform to allow those affected easy access to their birth records and birth identity and identify the best actions for remediation. 

“Today’s announcement is welcomed, and I hope it will be undertaken as soon as possible to give those ageing mothers affected, in particular, the opportunity to share their experiences,” Ms Mettam said. 

“I remain committed and willing to working with the Government to establish the inquiry to ensure it is comprehensive, fair and thorough.” 

Former Opposition Leader and Member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies said the Government’s decision was overdue and much needed. 

“The mothers, adopted adults, and their families deserve to have their chance to tell their story and contribute to recommendations specific to WA,” Ms Davies said. 

“Permitting access to all medical and adoption records without censorship, funding for support services, abolishing vetoes, and the creation of a redress scheme would be on the list of priorities for survivors. 

“After such a dark era in Western Australia, resulting in heartbreak and trauma, a full and thorough inquiry into the once State-sanctioned practice is the right step forward to support healing for those impacted.”