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August 30, 2009 / Times of India
MELBOURNE: Australia on Sunday said it would formally say sorry to the hundreds of thousands of children who were abused and neglected while in state care, in a gesture similar to last year's acknowledgement of past injustices inflicted upon Aborigines.
The Australian Government's apology would help address terrible wrongs inflicted on the so-called "Forgotten Australians" and child migrants who suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse while in the care of government institutions, Australian Families Minister Jenny Macklin has said.
Macklin said, "the level of abuse and neglect had been unacceptable and it was now time to issue a formal apology", 'The Age' reported.
A 2004 Senate report estimated that at least 500,000 children had been placed in more than 500 orphanages, homes or other forms of care during the last century.
In February 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had apologised to Aboriginal people for centuries of injustice, including the "stolen generations" of indigenous children taken from their families and placed in foster care with white families or institutions.