CANBERRA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government issued a national apology to mothers and children who suffered from forced adoption practices between the 1950s and 1970s, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the "shameful" policy had created "a legacy of pain" in a statement on Thursday.
According to this policy, tens of thousands of babies of unmarried, mostly teenage mothers, were thought to have been taken by the state and given to childless married couples in that era.
"Today, this parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologizes for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering," she said at the Parliament House in capital Canberra.
"We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children," She said.
In an apology to those affected by the policy from the 1950s to the 1970s, Gillard also indicated the government's intention to increase funding and services for victims.
Her government will provide 5 million AU dollars (almost 5.18 million U.S. dollars) to improve access to specialist support and record tracing and work with the states and territories to improve these services. It pledged another 5 million AU dollars (almost 5. 18 million U.S. dollars) for mental health services and 1.5 million AU dollars (almost 1.55 million U.S. dollars) for the National Archives to record the experiences of those affected.