Australian PM apologizes to forgotten generation

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has offered his apologies to the "forgotten generation" of children who were abused or neglected by the state in orphanages and children's homes between 1930 and 1970.

Many of the children came from poor families in Great Britain, some were sent by their parents with the promise of a better future in Australia. Others, often already in state care, were forcibly removed under the Child Migrants Programme. Some were told their parents were dead. Many parents were not told their children had been transported.

Many of the estimated half-a-million children involved were neglected by foster families, put in orphanages or used as cheap labour on farms. Prime Minister Rudd said it was "a shameful and ugly period" in Australian history.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to make a similar apology in the New Year to the British children sent against their will to Australia and Canada.