This report is a tribute to the strength and struggles of many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by forcible removal. We acknowledge the hardships they endured and the sacrifices they made. We remember and lament all the children who will never come home.
We dedicate this report with thanks and admiration to those who found the strength to tell their stories to the Inquiry and to the generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people separated from their families and communities.
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 1042.
Terms of Reference
I, MICHAEL LAVARCH, Attorney-General of Australia, HAVING REGARD TO the Australian Government's human rights, social justice and access and equity policies in pursuance of section 11(1)(e), (j), and (k) of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, HEREBY REVOKE THE REQUEST MADE ON 11 MAY 1995 AND NOW REQUEST the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to inquire into and report on the following matters:
(a) trace the past laws, practices and policies which resulted in the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families by compulsion, duress or undue influence, and the effects of those laws, practices and policies;
(b) examine the adequacy of and the need for any changes in current laws, practices and policies relating to services and procedures currently available to those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were affected by the separation under compulsion, duress or undue influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, including but not limited to current laws, practices and policies relating to access to individual and family records and to other forms of assistance towards locating and reunifying families;
(c) examine the principles relevant to determining the justification for compensation for persons or communities affected by such separations;
(d) examine current laws, practices and policies with respect to the placement and care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and advise on any changes required taking into account the principle of self-determination by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
IN PERFORMING its functions in relation to the reference, the Commission is to consult widely among the Australian community, in particular with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with relevant non-government organisations and with relevant Federal, State and Territory authorities and if appropriate may consider and report on the relevant laws, practices and policies of any other country.
THE COMMISSION IS REQUIRED to report no later than December 1996.
Dated 2 August 1995