Forgotten Australians is a term applied to the more than 500,000 non-indigenous, child migrants and indigenous children who experienced care in institutions or outside a home setting during the 20th century. Many of these children were abused physically, emotionally, or sexually while in care. Survivors to this day still suffer the effects of the child abuse.
On Monday 16 November 2009 the Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Mr Malcolm Turnbull issued a motion of an apology to the Forgotten Australians on behalf of the nation. The motion was not passed until the 26th of November. The apology was broadcast on national television. One year later, SBS TV screened a documentary, The Forgotten Australians, commemorating the apology and the journey to get there.
The Queensland Government commissioned an inquiry which was tabled in parliament in June 1999.  The inquiry was conducetd by Leneen Forde and is known as the "Forde Inquiry". It investigated abuse of tens of thousands of individuals in 159 institutions from 1911 to 1999.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee commissioned a national report on children in institutional care in 2003, specifically excluding child migrants ("Home Children") and Aboriginal children, who were the subject of previous reports. The Forgotten Australians inquiry considered the plight of more than 500,000 children in care in the 20th century and "generated the largest volume of highly personal, emotive and significant evidence of any Senate inquiry".
The Mullighan Report "Children In State Care Commission Of Inquiry" considered the more serious "allegations of sexual abuse and death from criminal conduct" from 1910 to 2004. Seven hundred and ninety two people made allegations of abuse by 1,733 perpetrators. The inquiry found from a potential 924 names that 391 children had died in state care.[clarification needed]
All the reports considered the nature and severity of abuse and it consequences on the abused. Each report made dozens of recommendations to address the problems caused by past abuse and prevent future abuse of children in care.
State government funded redress schemes have made or are planning ex-gratia payments to Forgotten Australians in some states. In Queensland, payments were made in 2009 ranging from $7,000 to $40,000. In Western Australia, payments are expected to range from $10,000 to $80,000 and will be made in 2010. The maximum payment may be limited because of underfunding. New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia are yet to fund redress schemes. The Victorian position is that individual cases will be addressed on their merits. The major problem for adult survivors of childhood abuse is the burden of proof of the abuse in a formal legal setting.
- "Executive Summary: Parliament of Australia: Senate: Committee: Report: Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care". http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/Committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/report/b1exec.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "Who are the Forgotten Australians?". http://www.forgottenaustralians.org.au/who/index.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.[dead link]
- "Forgotten Australians Apology - ABC1 Television Guide". http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/netw/200911/programs/NC0915H003D2009-11-16T110000.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- "Forde Inquiry into abuse of children in Queensland institutions - Community Services (Queensland Government)". http://www.communityservices.qld.gov.au/community/redress-scheme/forde-inquiry.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Committee: Report: Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care". http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/Committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/report/c01.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Committee: Report: Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care". http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/Committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/report/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "Children in State Care - Government of South Australia". http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Crime,+justice+and+the+law/Mullighan+Inquiry/Children+in+State+Care. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "About the Redress Scheme - Community Services (Queensland Government)". http://www.communityservices.qld.gov.au/community/redress-scheme/about-scheme.html. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "Media Statements - Current Ministers Search". http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/WACabinetMinistersSearch.aspx?ItemId=131181&minister=McSweeney&admin=Barnett. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "www.redress.wa.gov.au". http://www.redress.wa.gov.au/about.asp. Retrieved 2009-11-15.[dead link]
- "WA Redress Scheme - Life Matters - 29 July 2009". http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lifematters/stories/2009/2639107.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "CLAN - Care Leavers Australia Network - Support Services". http://www.clan.org.au/redress.php. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Not for One But for all Forgotten Australians
- Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children
- Forde Inquiry into abuse of children in Queensland institutions
- Mullighan Inquiry - Children in State Care
- The Forgotten Australians: Fairbridge Farm School interview transcripts
- Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA)
- Adoption & Forgotten Australians