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Anniversary of the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

16 November 2023 marks the 14-year anniversary of the National Apology. The National Apology is a significant moment for Forgotten Australians, Care Leavers and Australia as a whole, allowing awareness to be raised. The National Apology offered validation and the assurance that Forgotten Australians’ stories were being heard and ensured that there was action being taken to improve quality of life and promote emotional and psychological healing.

“We come together today to deal with an ugly chapter in our nation’s history … To say to you, the Forgotten Australians, and those who were sent to our shores as children without your consent, that we are sorry. Sorry – that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused. Sorry – for the physical suffering, the emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care. Sorry – for the tragedy, the absolute tragedy, of childhoods lost – childhoods spent instead in austere and authoritarian places … Sorry – for all these injustices to you … who were placed in our care … And let us also resolve this day that this national apology becomes a turning point in our nation’s story. A turning point for shattered lives. A turning point for governments at all levels and of every political hue and colour to do all in our power to never let this happen again. For the protection of children is the sacred duty of us all.”

– Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, 16 November 2009.


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