TEARS were shed in the Victorian Parliament today as Premier Ted Baillieu apologised for forced adoptions.Members of Parliament sat, silent in respect, as the Premier spoke, followed by Opposition leader Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Greens leader Greg Barber, apologising to mothers, fathers, sons and daughters affected by past adoption practices.
Some MPs and many members of the packed public gallery shed a tear as the formal apology was made during a special sitting of Parliament.
Premier Baillieu acknowledged the practice of forced adoptions, which occurred from early last century into the early 1980s and which was institutionalised during the period of 1950 to 1975.
It is estimated that during those years, at least 19,000 Victorian children were relinquished for adoption, the vast majority from young, unwed mothers.
"Young mothers were routinely compelled, coerced, and given no realistic choice other than to relinquish their babies for adoption," he said.
"What was done cannot now be undone.
"But on behalf of the Victorian Government, representing all the Governments that have come before us, we express our sincere sorrow and regret for the health and welfare policies that condoned the practice of forced separations.
"They were misguided, unwarranted, and caused immeasurable pain."