The father of a little girl with an illness who had to fight to be granted Australian residency has said he is overwhelmed after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton intervened to allow the family to stay.
His is the latest success story from Change.org, the petition organisation which marks five years of campaigning this week.
Kai Tippett told The Huffington Post Australia he believes a 30,000-strong petition helped influencePeter Dutton to change his mind after his six-year-old daughter Sienna was denied permanent residency because she was suffering from a "mystery illness" affecting her balance and speech.
A doctor consulting on behalf of the government had deemed she would be a "a burden to the Australian community".
Late last week they received word the decision had been reversed.
It was overwhelmingKai Tippett
"Initially when we started the whole process we weren't too sure if it was going to get any support and it was very negative -- then it was just overwhelming, the amount of support we got from everyone," Tippett told HuffPost Australia.
"It went up to 15,000 signatures within the first 18 hours. It was unbelievable."
Change.org is this week celebrating five years since its first victorious petition. Change.org counts it as a victory when the decision maker agrees to the change asked for by the petition starter. A victory is declared on a petition every 48 hours in Australia, the organisation said.
Major Change.org petitions in the past five years
- Change's First claimed victory: Emily's petition asking sponsors to pull advertising from 2Day FM after Sandilands called a journalist a "fat slag piece of shit" grew to 35k signatures. Sponsors - including Telstra and McDonald's - withdrew advertising.
- 12-year-old Connor, who is blind, successfully petitions RBA for tactile markings on banknotes (the first of which is on the new $5 note)
- AFL player Jason Ball gets AFL to commit to tackle homophobia (June 2014)
- 14-year-old Josie Pohla gets domestic violence prevention lessons on the curriculum weeks after her mum's suicide
- Katrina Keshishian was gang raped and being denied compensation. She successfully petitioned the NSW Attorney General to reverse the decision to cut crime compensation to victims.
- Lucy Haslam decriminalises medicinal cannabis with 250k-strong petition
- Chloe, 16, persuaded Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce to respond personally on her 160k-strong petition asking for relief for dairy farmers like her Dad. It resulted in a $500m package;
- Angelina, 16, persuaded supermarket giant Aldi to abolish caged eggs
Nathan Elvery, head of Change.org Australia, believes politicians are starting to take petitions seriously and issuing official responses to them and agreeing to people's call for change.
"Over the last five years, millions of Australians have signed a petition that has resulted in a victory and a tangible change being made," he told the HuffPost Australia in an email.
The scale and impact of people's petition victories have increased year on year, he said.
"In the past 12 months, thanks to petitions started by everyday Australians, the federal law has been changed, deaths have been prevented and companies have been held to account."
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