How and when did AFA start?
The Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) was launched in October 2007 by Senator Andrew Murray. The development of AFA followed the Senate report and then a subsequent conference that was held in Canberra to explore responses to the Senate Report. Its intent was to work as an umbrella body for existing support and advocacy services.
AFA was made up of a Membership group (all Forgotten Australians) and an Advisory group of useful and sympathetic professionals who worked with Forgotten Australians. In these early years AFA was auspiced by Families Australia.
What was the purpose for the establishing of AFA?
AFA was set up with the purpose of seeking support and funding for the implementation of the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry (2004). These included:
- A national Apology.
- A national redress scheme.
- Commissioning an oral history of Forgotten Australians’ experience.
- Advocating for a nationwide service (including a drop-in facility) for Forgotten Australians in each state and territory.
- Advocating for recognition of Forgotten Australians as a special needs group.
- Advocating for access for Forgotten Australians to appropriate, open ended counselling wherever they live.
Some of these recommendations have been achieved.
Why and when did AFA become incorporated?
AFA became incorporated in September 2014. This was the unanimous decision of the Forgotten Australians who were then members of AFA. AFA spent many months considering the notion of incorporation. A constitution was developed. Acceptance of the constitution and the new AFA structure was unanimously agreed to by the then voting members (Forgotten Australians) of AFA.
How is AFA funded?
AFA, since its inception, has received funding from then FaHCSIA and now DSS. AFA receives $150,000 per year. AFA’s funding agreement expires in June 2017.
How does the AFA structure work?
AFA’s constitution outlines the AFA structure. AFA has a membership drawn from each state’s and territory’s funded support service. There are 21 members; 14 are Forgotten Australians and 7 are non-Forgotten Australians. The membership at the AGM elects the Board; 8 of whom are Forgotten Australians and 4 of whom are non-Forgotten Australians.
What has AFA achieved?
Many of the reasons (coming from the 2004 Senate Report) for the establishment of AFA have been achieved e.g. national Apology, national oral history and the establishment of a national Find and Connect service across Australia. There are some significant omissions from this list, in particular the implementation of a national redress scheme.
Most recently AFA has been involved in the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. AFA has played an active role in public hearings e.g. redress and criminal justice and has provided six submissions on different topics to issues papers published by the Royal Commission.
AFA has conducted a post card campaign directed at State and Federal politicians across Australia.
What plans does AFA have for the next 12 months?
AFA has four main tasks over the next 12 months:
- Active involvement in the implementation of a national redress scheme
- Advocacy work in relation to the introduction of a scheme that provides priority access for Forgotten Australians to health and aged care services
- Continuing community education delivered by AFA members across Australia to health, aged care and educational institutions.
- Employment of an administration/project officer to undertake co-ordination and liaison task on behalf of the AFA membership.