Confirmation this week of bipartisan support for a parliamentary inquiry into forced adoption has been labelled the best news “in two years” by the Albany woman who petitioned for it. Albany’s Jen McRae, herself a survivor of forced adoption, has been lobbying the State Government, formally calling for an inquiry in a petition circulated last year. She said confirmation this week of support for an inquiry from both sides of the political divide was “heartwarming”. “We’ve been listened to and heard and they are going to give us what we want,” she said. “It’s a long time coming. “The bipartisan support is really key to any of these kinds of things.” The matter was referred to a standing committee in December last year. This week, Child Protection Minister Sabine Winton said “the McGowan Government supports a parliamentary inquiry intoJU historical forced adoption practices”. The comment was backed by Premier Mark McGowan on Tuesday when he said “making sure it’s part of the public consciousness and that the people and history are recorded is very important”. It follows a statement issued by shadow child protection minister Libby Mettam on Sunday where she said she had written to the Premier asking for an inquiry. On Tuesday, Ms Mettam said it was pleasing that the new minister “has decided to support those women and their adult sons and daughters affected by this heartless practice”. “Hopefully this will bring a degree of understanding and potential reconnection for those who have lifelong unresolved issues because of this practice,” she said. From the 1940s to the 1980s, thousands of unwed Indigenous and non-Indigenous young women had their newborns forcibly removed from their care and “given” to married couples. Ms McRae, left, said she suspected Mr McGowan had always been sympathetic to the cause because of the knowledge she had about his family history. “His family has been touched by adoptions too so I had always held out hope that he’d have a sensibility around that,” she said. In February 2022, Ms McRae and Judith Hendriksen told the Advertiser about their experience of forced adoption. Ms McRae was taken from her mother and placed with a foster family shortly after her birth, and Ms Hendriksen had her baby girl taken from her shortly after giving birth as a 17-year-old. Ms McRae told the Advertiser this week it was key that mothers and adopted people join forces to work as a team to bring about the inquiry. She said she did not think society understood the impact of forced adoption and that it had been a failed social policy that was not seen as having consequences at the time. “If we can unpick everything that happened in the forced adoption era I think we will see a lot of parallels to how we operate even today,” she said. “We can then start to reorientate the services we provide to families — separating families does not work so... how about we have family preservation as the core goal across all government? “I think we’d a see a healthier society if we were able to do that.” She said that on a smaller scale, an inquiry would be important to provide a setting for truth telling by “allowing people impacted by forced adoption to tell their experiences in a setting where they know they won’t be litigated against.” A formal decision to initiate an inquiry still needs to be made by the standing committee.