National Library of Australia Oral History Project

The National Library of Australia has just completed an oral history project recording the lives and experiences of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. More than 200 people shared their moving life stories in interviews recorded by specially trained historians. More information on the Oral History Project, including an invaluable booklet and contact details can be found at:

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A Message from Jenny Macklin - Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

Date: 21/11/2012
The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, sent out the following e-mail on 17th November: 

As you would be aware the Prime Minister announced this week that she will be recommending to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.

For many of you - who have fought for many, many years for this - the establishment of a Royal Commission will come as a welcome relief.

The Royal Commission will be a thorough investigation into the wrongs that have been committed. I want to assure you that you and your organisations will have the chance to be involved.

Work has already begun. A Royal Commission Secretariat has been established and is currently working on a proposal for terms of reference for the Royal Commission.

The Prime Minister has said she wants to have the terms of reference ready by the end of this year so the Commission can start early in 2013.

As part of the development of the terms of reference we will be consulting with organisations that represent the survivors of child abuse, community leaders, State and Territory Governments, religious organisations and other parties.

My Department will be in touch with you very shortly with more details on the consultation process.

A hotline - 1800 099 340 - has also been established for people seeking more information.

If you would like to be kept informed on the establishment of the Royal Commission, please email or call the hotline to provide your contact details.

For more information you can also visit the Secretariat’s website:

As the Prime Minister has explained, the Royal Commission will consider the handling of child sexual abuse allegations in religious, charitable and state institutions. 

Past Royal Commissions have generally called witnesses and taken oral evidence in the past, and I expect this will be the case with the current inquiry

The Gillard Government believes we must do everything we can to make sure that what has happened in the past to Australian children is never allowed to happen again.

If you would like to speak to my office please call Abbie Clark or Kate Costello on 02 6277 7560.

Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Minister for Disability Reform

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Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

From the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet:

On Monday 12 November 2012 the Prime Minister announced that she will be recommending to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.

The Terms of Reference and the membership of the Commission are currently being developed. These arrangements will be discussed with Premiers and Chief Ministers, as well as survivors groups, religious leaders and community organisations in coming weeks. The Attorney General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, and the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin MP, will co-ordinate this work on behalf of the Commonwealth Government in coming weeks.

Individuals and organisations wishing to provide input to be considered by the Royal Commission will have ample opportunity to do so. The terms of reference for the Royal Commission will ask that it seek submissions from the public. The Commission will also have the power to call witnesses and take evidence. It is likely the Royal Commission will begin its work in early 2013.

If you wish to be kept advised on the establishment of the Royal Commission or if you would like your details passed on to the Secretariat to the Royal Commission, you may provide an email or postal contact address through one of the following ways:

Telephoning the national call centre on: 1800 099 340
Email to the following address:
By post to the following address:

Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse
PO Box 6555

This information would only be disclosed to the Commission’s Secretariat for the purpose of contacting you to provide information about how to make a submission. It would not be used or disclosed for any other purpose.

The Secretariat is likely to be able to provide the details of the arrangements for the making of submissions to the Commission in early 2013.

If you or someone you know is a victim of child sexual abuse, this should be reported to the police in your state or territory. They are the appropriate authority for investigating specific cases of child sexual abuse and they will be able to put you in contact with support agencies and counselling services that specialise in assisting victims.

While the Royal Commission will likely consider the circumstances of specific individuals and institutions through its inquiries, it will not conduct investigations or prosecutions into those matters.

Support services are available to help those affected. A list of victim support groups available in each state/territory will be made available on this website shortly.

Should you require immediate or crisis support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Lifeline provides 24 hour support to all Australians experiencing a personal crisis. 

The Government has established Find and Connect support services across Australia to provide counselling and support to people affected by child abuse. You can contact your local support service on 1800 161 109.

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Establishment of Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

Monday 12th November 2012 - 

Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP made the following statement: 

Today I have announced that I will be recommending to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.

The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking. These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them. They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated.

I believe a Royal Commission is the best way to do this.

The proposed terms of reference and proposed Commissioner will be submitted to the Governor-General in due course, pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act 1902.

I will speak with relevant Premiers and Chief Ministers in coming days to discuss how the Royal Commission should relate to any current inquiries into similar matters currently proposed or underway in their jurisdictions. Discussions will also take place with victims’ groups, religious leaders, and community organisations. The Attorney-General and the Minister for Families will co-ordinate this work on behalf of the Government in coming weeks.

Further announcements, including the proposed Commissioner and detailed terms of reference, will be made in coming weeks.

I commend the victims involved for having the courage to speak out.

I believe we must do everything we can to make sure that what has happened in the past is never allowed to happen again.

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Harold Haig

We are saddened and bereft at the sudden death of
Harold Haig
3rd August 2012

Words are difficult to find at this time. 

                      Harold and his sister, Marie, with whom he                               was reunited after decades apart

                      Harold and his sister, Marie, with whom he
                              was reunited after decades apart

A Memorial Service - Remembering Harold - will be announced shortly

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Press Release | Child Migrants Trust - 2nd May 2012

The Child Migrants Trust welcomes this 2nd Anniversary event.  It gives an opportunity for Britain’s former Child Migrants to share with the Secretary of State the benefits and positive results of the Family Restoration Fund.

The Fund was a key part of the national Apology, a practical way of restoring former child migrants to their families and helping them to reclaim their identities.

We believe this historic apology was good for the nation and a crucial step in the right direction.  It showed that, at last, we could start the reconciliation and reparation dialogue.

Of course, this was a moment that former Child Migrants had waited for all their lives, and it is not surprising that every anniversary will hold a special significance for them and their families.

We cannot give former Child Migrants their childhoods back.  We are not able to give a mother and father their child back, but we can give them hope and restore a sense of fair play and justice.

There is still much to be done.

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Department of Health Press Release | 300 former child migrants reunited

Almost 300 former child migrants have been reunited with their families in the UK thanks to the Family Restoration Fund.

The £6m Family Restoration Fund, which covers the practical costs of travel, is available to any former child migrant who was sent under school-leaving age without their relatives from Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Commonwealth countries.

The fund, which was launched by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in July 2010, is administered and supported by the Child Migrants Trust

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

    “Thirteen years ago as a member of the Health Select Committee, I heard evidence, often tragic and disturbing, of how children had been separated from their mothers and families, and taken overseas, often not knowing their mothers and families were alive. 

    “Almost two years ago I launched the three-year fund on behalf of the UK Government, in recognition of the years of struggle and heart ache suffered by child migrants. I am very glad now to have met some of the families reunited as a result of the fund.”

To read the DoH Press Release in full click here

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U.K. Apology to Former Child Migrants | 2nd Anniversary

Prime Minister David Cameron MP said:
"We will never forget the tragedy of the thousands of families broken up by the child migration schemes.

As we come to the second anniversary of the British Government's apology, all our thoughts are with those who were affected."

Gordon Brown MP said:
“Two years ago I was proud to offer an apology for the UK's role in the shameful deportation of thousands of children to former colonies. The deportation of the innocents was not only cruel, unnecessary and deeply unjust but demanded the fullest apology to all who suffered and were so wrongly robbed of their childhood. Today the Child Migrants Trust continues its excellent work. Several hundred former child migrants have benefited enormously from the Family Restoration Fund having used this to visit family - often at critical times. It is my hope that the funding for the Trust’s work can continue so that support for the families can be maintained. All our lives we have a continuing duty to those who suffered so much through no fault of their own.”

Kevin Barron MP said: 
“The Health Select Committee, of which I was chair, played a pivotal role in bringing to the fore the original inquiry into child migration. The Committee ensured that an unequivocal apology was forthcoming from Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the deplorable deportation and subsequent abuse of child migrants.

As a nation we must do all we can to ensure we support former Child Migrants and their families and try to make up for the poor level of service they have received until recently.  There are vital policy lessons still to be learnt about safeguarding vulnerable people, especially children, and help them recover from abusive environments. I am also pleased that the measures taken at the time of the apology are a real help to so many.  The Family Restoration Fund enables families to meet after years of separation, bringing together, in some cases kindred that they never knew existed.”

2nd Apology.jpg

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