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Western Australia - Event

Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care (2003 - 2005)

Parliament of Australia

4 March 2003
10 November 2005

The Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care was referred to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee on 4 March 2003. This inquiry was focused mainly on those people whose childhoods were not covered by the 2001 report Lost Innocents: Righting the Record, (former child migrants), and the 1997 report, Bringing them Home, (stolen generations). The Committee released its first report from the inquiry on 30 August 2004. It was called Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children. A second report, Protecting vulnerable children: A national challenge, was released on 17 March 2005. The Australian Government's response to the inquiry was tabled in the Senate on 10 November 2005.


The Senate inquiry received over 500 submissions. In the final report, the Senate paid tribute to those Forgotten Australians who had shared their stories:

The Committee members are most grateful and offer their heartfelt thanks to all those who provided submissions describing their life experiences. The Committee considers that these submissions by so many people do not just represent their own individual stories, but they are also provided on behalf of their thousands of brothers and sisters who experienced life in an institution or out-of-home care. In addition, all those who provided submissions deserve the thanks of the Australian people for whom these submissions can open their eyes to a sad, painful, often tragic and not understood chapter in Australian history.

West Australian Australian Democrats senator Andrew Murray, achieved political support for the Senate inquiry into Children in Institutional Care which led to the Forgotten Australians report.

This followed Murray's campaign that led in 2000 to the establishment of the Senate Community Affairs Inquiry into Child Migration, of which he was a member.

Murray was well-known for his efforts to raise awareness of the situation of people who have experienced institutional 'care' as children, child migrants and his lobbying around the issue of child welfare in general.

Andrew Murray retired from the Senate prior to the November 2007 federal election. His term expired on 30 June 2008.

Related Events


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Parliament of Australia Senate, Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children, Senate Community Affairs References Committee,

Prepared by: Debra Rosser