Adult adoptees silenced in Parliamentary Adoption Inquiry

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Adult adoptees silenced in Parliamentary Adoption Inquiry

The Commonwealth government is years behind Europe in adoption research and practices and they are silencing adoptees in Australia who have lived experience of adoption, according to Adoption Rights Australia (ARA).

Head of the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry on Local Adoption, Julia Banks MP, refused to allow Adoptee groups and ARA members to contribute to the inquiry in person. ARA members were told that the past practices under which they were adopted had no relevance to the proposed new adoption policies for 21st century Australia.

ARA Adult adoptees were advised that the content of their submissions would be censored or their names withheld. The committee’s justification for this has silenced the lived experiences of adult adoptees with much to contribute to government policies and legislation around the well-being of both current and future adoptees. According to an ARA spokesperson, adult adoptees from the era of closed forced and past open adoptions (mandated in Victoria since 1984), were simply advised that adoption isn’t ‘like that anymore’. ARA disagrees with this sentiment.

Recommendations in the recently published parliamentary report Breaking Barriers: A National Adoption Framework for Australian children state:

  • that the Commonwealth work with state and territory governments to achieve agreement, through the Council of Australian Governments, to develop and enact a national law for adoption;
  • adoption should be considered before long term fostering or residential care;
  • and, decisions on whether a child may be able to safely return to their parent(s) must be made within a legislated timeframe, such as six months of an interim care order for children under two years old, or within 12 months for older children’.

Implementation of such policies will place many vulnerable persons in exactly the same legal position as current adoptees who lost their families to the adoption system of the 20th century. Alternatives to adoption, such as legal guardianship, permanent care orders and family stewardship programs, offer vulnerable children protection while preserving their rights to their identity through their original birth certificates and their ongoing legal and physical connection to their biological families.

For further information and/or comment, please contact ARA Inc Spokesperson ‘Elizabeth Russell’ on 0421 645 422

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Media Release: Launching Adoptee Rights Australia Inc. (ARA)

MEDIA RELEASE        For immediate release

LAUNCHING: Adoptee Rights Australia Inc. (ARA)

ARA aims to fulfil the urgent need in Australia for a national adoptee representative peak body run by, and for, adopted people. To date, other stakeholders’ views have been prioritised and ARA was formed in response to a longstanding need to have our voices heard in relation to adoption policy and services. To this end, ARA aims to promote Australian adoptees as key contributors as opposed to passive objects within adoption debates.

Core Value

ARA recognises that adopted people are the experts in adoption. This is not only due to their lived experience, but also because of their breadth of knowledge and skills in the adoption field and wider academic and professional careers.

Key Objectives

ARA aims to provide an independent national voice for Australian adoptees, conducted on the basis of democratic elections and policy voting. To this end, and as the peak body, ARA will work with other stakeholders towards the common goal of improving adoption through education, policy and legislation. We are committed to learning from the mistakes made by past adoption practices and, most importantly, considering modern developments in adoption, law and society.

ARA exists to promote the voices of adopted people in Australia, informing services, policy and legislation on adoption at state and national levels.

  • Dr Catherine Lynch (NSW) – President
  • Sharyn White (SA) – Vice President
  • Christin Coralive (QLD) – Treasurer
  • Glen Scott (SA) – Secretary
  • Jamie Harrison (VIC) – Ordinary Committee Member
  • Carol Maney (TAS) – Ordinary Committee member
  • Peter Capicola Moore (NSW) – Ordinary Committee Member & Public Officer
Get Involved

We welcome the opportunity to liaise with relevant government and non-government organisations and other key stakeholders who share the objectives of restoring, protecting and promoting the human rights and wellbeing of adopted people.

To arrange interviews or comment, please contact:

William Hammersley:

Social Media:


Twitter: @AdopteeRightsAu

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