Politicians, Judges & Police

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    As with most commercial transactions, adopters were after speedy and complete paperwork. As with the sale of a property, or the ownership of a desired animal, if a deal is to be a deal then a clean break in ownership is needed. By 1950 adoption law provided both the honest and crooked, the callous and the kind, with this convenience.

    After a judge ruled on adoption, there was no going back and, after 1955, this decision could be immediate and final following 30 days after the mother signed the consent. As well, the link with religion meant that the Churches were intrinsically involved in the lies of the trade, such as a local cleric verifying that a family was suitable to take the child with only a superficial knowledge of the adopting couple.

    But at the time of my birth, 1952, the adoption racket was a relatively small time, lucrative trade for those with emotional resilience and a criminal inclination. They had the social workers and the politicians on their side, but the judiciary was not so sure and the infamous 1955 Murray-Mace adoption contest eventually went to the British Court Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on appeal.

    The Committee wisely decided it was not a question for the Queen to decide: the adopters retained the child. But if the Queen wasn’t interested, our Police were.

    The Police interest was in protecting the networks of doctors involved in adoptions, in particular as they were the same people who referred women for illegal abortions. In Victoria this interest developed into a monumental protection racket demanding massive bribes from elite Melbourne doctors specialising in 'women’s problems.'

    The Kay Inquiry of 1970 eventually exposed this racket, but by this time the consulting American doctor involved in my adoption was dead. But the doctor who delivered me at Avonhurst Private Hospital was among those named.


    As with most commercial transactions, adopters were after speedy and complete paperwork.