The Victorian Government has formally apologised to all those affected by the forced adoption practices in the state between the 1950s and 1970s.
The apology follows a landmark inquiry by the Federal Senate, which found up to 250,000 babies were forcibly taken from their mothers, who were mostly young and unmarried.
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Premier Ted Baillieu, Opposition leader Daniel Andrews and Nationals leader Peter Ryan addressed a joint sitting of Parliament as about 400 invited guests watched on.
Mr Baillieu described the practice as wrong, disgraceful, ill-conceived and in some cases, illegal.
“As one, we say to you all we are sorry,” he told Parliament.
“What was done cannot now be undone, but we do hope this official recognition and apology lifts the burden of secrecy, and brings peace and relief.”
Mr Baillieu says as a parent, he can barely imagine the heartache of never seeing his child asleep or missing the first day of school.
“Today is about the Parliament apologising for the trauma, pain and loss so many experienced and continue to experience to this day as a result of flawed and harmful government policy,” he said.