The stories you got the media to cover

Two young people, aged 12 and 13, made media headlines this week - thanks to your signatures.

One is a chronically ill boy, the other a victim of severe bullying. Both wanted to to make their voices heard and make the change they want to see. And both did that by using Change.org.

Tayla

Tayla, 12, was a major feature in The Weekend Australian Magazine. On her petition, she wrote:

"I'm the most unpopular kid in school and bullying is killing me - PLEASE help"

Change.org users answered that call for help. They signed her petition in their thousands, leading to Tayla's voice being amplified through the media. 

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Gidon

Meanwhile Gidon, 13, was on The Project this week calling on NSW Premier Mike Baird to answer his call to cap hospital parking fees, following long hospital stays due to his rare blood disorder. It was Change.org users flocking to sign his petition that gave him this powerful platform:
 

Every single media headline generated is thanks to the support of you, our users. Here are three more crackers that happened thanks to you:

Premier changed his mind on medicinal cannabis thanks to story shared on Change.org

 

"Making shit happen"

 

"A legit force in politics" 

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Sign Gidon's petition here and Tayla's petition here

 

Exclusive: From “most unpopular girl at school” to major magazine - one girl’s story of finding her voice

Tayla’s plea for help stunned us here at the Change.org office. The details are shocking. This girl is just 12:

"I'm the most unpopular kid at school and people make my life a living hell. Every day people call me fatso, weirdo, ugly, freak, and tell me I should kill myself.

Other people in my class throw things at me and film it on their phones. They tell me they're going to upload it to the net."

Tayla felt voiceless and powerless to change her situation. She opened her mum’s laptop, logged on to Change.org and explained she had “nowhere else to go for help.”

Tayla started her petition from her mum's laptop

Tayla started her petition from her mum's laptop

As thousands of people began signing and sharing her petition, the Change.org team provided advice and support to Tayla and her mum – on speaking to media and how to make her voice louder.  

This weekend, Tayla is featured in The Weekend Australian magazine. Her story and bravery will help thousands and has already inspired a national anti-bullying movement.

Tayla in The Weekend Australian Magazine 

Tayla in The Weekend Australian Magazine 

Amazing things can happen when people use Change.org. Two days after she started her petition, a Facebook Group formed and arranged a mass walk-home, meeting Tayla from school. Journalists on news sites and on TV were inspired to share for the first time their personal experiences of bullying. Social media lit up in support of Tayla.

Then her mum wrote this, which we’ll finish with, to say thank you so much for signing petitions and using Change.org. It makes a bigger difference than you may realise:

Share this story

Join the anti-bullying movement inspired by Tayla’s bravery

Would you like to share a personal message for Tayla? Write one below and we'll pass it on to her and her mum... 

How to fight homophobia today

Yesterday a cartoon comparing gay people fighting for marriage equality to Nazi Germany was published in a leading newspaper. Dean's petition calls for the cartoonist's employment to be terminated.

Every day, Australians are campaigning online for gay equality. It's working in securing real, meaningful change for LGBTQI Australians. 

Discover some uplifting stories and then take action, below:

Dad's campaign to legalise same-sex adoption has almost won

This week, the SA Parliament introduced a Bill to legalise adoption for gay couples, following petition pressure on Change.org from Shaun, the proud dad of two adopted sons.

Shaun with his partner and their two adopted sons 

Shaun with his partner and their two adopted sons 

Mum of famous gay son inspires others to speak out

Laurelle Mellet, the mum of singer Troye Sivan, has become a powerful voice for young gay people. Her petition to save Safe Schools’ funding has encouraged some powerful comments like this one:

Laurelle Mellet is petitioning as "the proud mum of a gay son" - Troye Sivan, pictured here 

Laurelle Mellet is petitioning as "the proud mum of a gay son" - Troye Sivan, pictured here 

Petitioning for gay equality has resulted in campaign wins big and small: from a school allowing same-sex couples to attend their debutante ball, to the AFL tackling homophobia by introducing a ‘Pride’ round. Read this piece for more gay equality wins.

Want to address inequality you've seen or experienced? Start a petition here

Sign Dean’s petition, calling for Termination of Bill Leaks’ employment here

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people that wouldn’t be alive today without your signatures

Signing a petition isn’t just effective. It can save lives.

“It was my last hope. And it worked”

May Ali, from WA, is a mum of two beautiful daughters:

But they risked  growing up without a mum. May was struck down with a potentially fatal disease called aHUS. It made her dangerously ill:

“Coming close to death several times, I also became severely disabled.”

Then, a wonder-drug came along - Eculizumab. “It was my last hope” May says. “It literally saved my life after a harrowing five months in hospital.” 

But suddenly, in December, the government stopped funding the drug and denied May her next dose. She faced two bleak options: pay $500,000 (and bankruptcy), or die.

40,000 signed May’s petition and, just before Christmas, Health Minister Sussan Ley approved May’s next dose, subsidised the wonder drug and saved May’s life.

Now THAT is an amazing Christmas pressie.

“I cannot thank Change.org enough for providing their platform”

Like most mums, Nicole’s kids kept her happily busy.

Then, she was struck down with stomach cancer. It tore her world apart. But she prepared for surgery for the sake of her kids. One problem. She wasn’t allowed surgery - and for the most ridiculous reason.

The NSW stomach cancer specialist was limited to performing six surgeries per month - and he’d already reached this quota, meaning Nicole would die.

Across the state, Sam - an 18-year-old Nicole had never met - saw her story. He started a Change.org petition to lift this cap of six surgeries. It worked. With almost 80,000 signatures, the NSW Health Minister was pressured to act to save Nicole’s life.

The legacy continues. Earlier this year, NSW health announced that two new stomach cancer centers will be created. This means that the number of patients that can receive cancer operations will increase from 115 this year to 170 by 2026.

Nicole said: “I cannot thank Change.org enough for providing their platform.”

...and one brave man whose petition will save thousands

In this case, a petition couldn’t save Shane’s life - but it’ll save thousands more, thanks to his courage.

Shane Raisher, who died at 32, will never know the two huge legacies he left on this earth.

While he was battling cancer, his wife Dannii was pregnant with their second child. Levi is the son Shane will sadly never meet.

But there’s another legacy Shane left.

Shane’s Change.org petition - started when he was very sick - asked for a melanoma wonder-drug, Keytruda, to be part-funded by the government’s health department. He wanted no other family to face the $10,500 bill every three weeks that his family did, just to keep him alive.

But listen they did. Unfortunately, it was just too late for Shane. Just three months after his death, his petition ask was granted.

1,400 patients die from melanoma annually. Many will now be saved or granted valuable extra years because they can afford this wonder-treatment, thanks to Shane’s successful petition.

Dannii said: “It’s important to me that his two sons grow up to understand what a courageous fighter their father was - and how many people’s lives his petition saved.”

Many lives were saved thanks to your signature - but some people are still battling the Government to get approval for life-saving treatments.

29 Year old Sarah suffers from a rare genetic disorder, aHus. Without access to a life-saving drug granted to her sister but not her, she will die.

You can click here to help save Sarah by putting pressure on the Health Minister to fund her treatment.

Know a few friends who might like this story? Click here to share with them on facebook.

Insurance Giants Are Backflipping After Years Of Claim Rejections

It’s a true David vs Goliath battle. After a four year dispute with insurance giant Allianz, who refused to pay out for a road traffic accident that left Manuel Larriera permanently disabled - he's forced them to back down.

His pain has ended just two months after starting his Change.org petition and thousands of signatures helping him secure national media attention, prompting the insurer to respond and pay out.

Allianz has finally settled his claim in full this week.

But Manuel is not the only one using people power to end years of claim rejections - meet the Change.org users fighting back against insurers' decisions:

AAMI, Allianz, NRMA, Suncorp and Westpac - they’re well-known household insurers that millions Aussies rely on as a safety net for their insurance policies. 

But after numerous vulnerable Aussies found these big brands rejecting their insurance claims – they turned to Change.org and started petitions asking for their insurer to pay their claims. And it's working. 

Now these individuals, backed by of thousands of signatures, are making some of Australia’s biggest companies u-turn on their decisions:

Change.org users are signing, sharing and chipping in to help these customer’s win - now help more people take on their insurers by sharing this news on facebook.

Did you help any of these petitions reach victory? We'd love to hear why you signed - leave your comments in the box below.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The drugs squad copper who ‘dealt’ drugs to his terminally ill son

WHILE ARRESTING SYDNEY’S city criminals for cannabis possession, former drugs squad copper Lou Haslam never believed he’d end up here. 

He’s on a quiet, green farm in Tamworth, preparing it to host Australia’s first ever legal cannabis crop, soon to be surrounded by high security fencing.

He certainly never believed he’d be the dad persuading his son to take a puff of a marijuana joint, after previously giving anti-cannabis lectures as a formal part of police detective recruit training:

“I took as gospel the propaganda we were fed about cannabis: that it gives men sperm count of zero. That it builds up like lead. That it’s the most dangerous drug around. All bloody myths. Only this campaign told me the truth.”

That campaign was started by his wife, Lucy. She logged on to Change.org and asked not to be treated as a criminal for providing her terminally son, Dan, with medicinal cannabis. Going public with their personal story was the first step of a long campaign for the Haslams. They amassed 250,000 petition signers who they used as an army of campaigners to successfully pressurise State Premiers, Health Ministers, party leaders and pharmaceutical giants.

After 35 years in the police, including 8 as a drugs squad officer, Lou left the force when his 21-year-old son Dan was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. Lou and Lucy desperately wanted their son’s final years to be his happiest. But it seemed impossible:

“Dan would find any tactic, any excuse to delay his chemo clinic appointments. Who could blame him? He’d come back sick as a dog, painful ulcers filled his mouth right down his throat. He couldn’t keep anything down and it killed his appetite anyway. He couldn’t even speak. Then just when he could, it was time for chemo clinic again.”

Lou will never forget the night everything changed - thanks to a spliff:

“When a friend suggested Dan try cannabis, Dan said ‘Dad won’t have a bar of this.’ But a parent will do anything, absolutely anything to help their kid in agony. The results were sensational. We’d give him a smoke just before and just after chemo clinic. Just a puff. That first night he asked for steak and eggs! That was unheard of - I’m not making this up. This wasn’t a placebo effect. We later found out, through all the petition signers leaving comments, everyone using it medicinally felt the same effect. That last year of Dan’s life was the best of the five since his diagnosis. His nausea eased, his appetite returned. We got Dan back, even if it was only for a year.”

During this time, Dan married his university sweetheart, Alyce.

Lou insists he never saw himself as a ‘dealer’ to his son: “No way in the world. A crime needs an intent and my intent was to help my son. Thanks to our campaign and the petition, it’s now off the prohibited substances list and from November, doctors can prescribe it.”

In the February of 2015, Dan Haslam died. He was 25.

As a legacy to Dan, his parents stepped up their lobbying. They’d already convinced NSW Premier Mike Baird (who wrote a piece dedicated to Dan titled “the young man who changed my mind about cannabis.”) Next, they used their army of 250,000 signers to lobby senior politicians for them. Thousands of people suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses who’d previously been terrified of arrest, felt empowered to admit using medicinal cannabis in the petition’s ‘reason for signing’. It was a collective shout that got so loud, politicians could no longer ignore it.

The fight wasn’t easy. The Haslams still had to take on the pharmaceutical juggernauts: “Big pharma lobbied like crazy against decriminalisation. They knew cannabis medication would take away from their business.”

In February 2016, on the first anniversary of Dan’s death, the Haslams won. Health Minister Sussan Ley issued an official response to their Change.org petition announcing the federal law would change to decriminalise medicinal cannabis. Lucy calls it ‘Dan’s Law.’

Lou needs to get back to preparing Australia’s first ever medicinal cannabis crop farm, named DanEden. “I must get going, time to go back to the farm. It’s beautiful out there”, he says as he signs off.   

Support United in Compassion, Lucy and Lou’s charity for compassionate access to cannabis, by donating here

Share this story with friends on Facebook – and leave a comment below:

Everyday Aussies Winning Big For Gay Equality

The fight for equality is being fought every day, in towns across Australia. Outside the Canberra bubble – these Aussies' victories could teach the PM a few things about getting results for gay equality. 

Watch this. Scroll to see the wins. And back the next big petition for equality at the end.

Baby Tadgh now officially has two mummies - because your signatures changed the law 

This is Tadhg. He was, fittingly, born on mother’s day in 2014 - and has two mummies:

But, according to his birth certificate, Tadhg only had one mummy - Sally. Because Sally’s partner was a woman, Tadhg wasn’t allowed to have two legal parents - something Sally called out as homophobia.

Sally’s Change.org petition read: “Our child is disadvantaged by having ‘one legally invisible parent’ when he has been so consciously created and with clear intention from the outset that he should be born to two parents - who just happen to be mother and co-mother.” 

When the law was changed after 5,000 signatures on Sally’s persuasive petition, she wrote: "The Attorney General fought it every step of the way - but justice won in the end."

AFL tackles homophobia after historic campaign by first openly gay player

“This is a terrifying petition to write” Jason Ball typed nervously, before sharing his experience as the first AFL player to come out as gay. His powerful voice combined with 30,000 others built a 3-year long campaign for the AFL to tackle homophobia.  

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Jason asked for an AFL Pride Round, to help foster a more respectful culture towards gay people and tackle the homophobia he’d witnessed first hand. When that happened last month, Ball called it a “historic moment I could only have dreamed of when I started my Change.org petition four years ago.”

Same-sex couples shall go the ball! 

The School Debutante Ball is, in the words of 16 year old Tia, “For many female students, a dream come true. Or, if you're LGBT+, a nightmare.”

Along with her best friend Rebekah, Tia successfully petitioned Bundoora Secondary School to allow same-sex couples to attend for the first time in 2016 - setting a leading example for all VIC schools. They made a fab couple:

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The school principal, who changed the school’s rule following Tia’s petition, said: "I'm quite in awe of you as young people taking a brave step. As much as community attitudes have changed towards same sex couples there's still a lot of hostility in the world."

4 million Australians are now using Change.org. Your power to win campaigns for equality is growing every day. 

Catholic Priest Father Paul wants your help to end the ‘gay panic’ defence in Australia – SIGN HERE.

Troye Sivan’s mum says: My son is gay. Save Safe Schools’ Funding – SIGN HERE.

No to the marriage equality plebiscite - SIGN HERE.

Legalise same-sex adoption in SA - SIGN HERE.

Four Year Fight To Stop Racehorse Slaughter Pays Off

"This has been a really hard fight. We're not campaigners. When we first discovered what was happening, we were just ordinary citizens. But the desire to get justice for these horses has helped us create history."

In big news for animal rights this week, thousands of retired racehorses will no longer face being shot and slaughtered – with Racing NSW committing to a new retirement welfare plan.

It's a victory 4 years in the making. Ward and others at the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses have volunteered thousands of hours, garnered the backing of 44,000 Change.org users, and persisted despite constant rejections. Their tireless efforts paid off.

“It’s one huge step in the right direction for animal rights - one we never thought we’d reach. It’s been incredible to see the support from signers, it’s more than just a signature.”

But Ward doesn't plan to stop here - he wants to put an end to this “torture” nationally: "This is just the start - we’ve won against one state but the rest are now to follow. NSW has merely set a precedent to which others must follow.”

You can add your name to their petition now to help win this change nationally by clicking here.

Ward isn’t the only one with good news for animal rights - in case you missed it:

Which animal rights victory on Change.org did you love? Leave your comments below. 

Glorious. Pizza Shapes Are Back – And Other Little Gems.

Holy moley, the original Pizza Shapes are coming back. We did it, Australia.
"We haven’t achieved world peace - but it’s a pretty close second” - avid Shapes advocate. 

Arnott’s will resurrect the original, much-loved Pizza Shapes, following sobering public outcry. 

But all is now right in the world. Victory! Nearly 30,000 pizza lovers united in common cause of loving the munch.

Aussies have a knack for championing the right causes. Just think of these little gems:

1. Noel is allowed to ride his horse into town & back - on one condition

After being banned, Noel successfully petitioned Hills Creek Hire Council, WA, for the right to ride his horse - his only form of transportation - into town to do his shopping and go to church. 1,874 supporters backed him. The council wrote him an apology letter. 

Halls Creek Shire chief executive Rodger Kerr-Newell said: 

"This man is completely entitled to ride his horse, camel, llama, whatever, in and out of town. But if it craps all over the place, he has to pick it up."

2. One of our petition starters is a drag queen called Pauline Pantsdown

And she seems to be as influential as her newly elected namesake, after petitioning for an elderly couple’s right to fly the rainbow flag on their balcony, following complaints 

3. Tony “the spud king” petitioned for his right to grow potatoes

Tony was being prevented from selling as many spuds as he likes by a body called "the Potato Marketing Corporation" (we’re not making this up) and one Change.org user’s petition called on the WA Premier to stop making it a crime to produce too many potatoes (yes, really).

4. The Australian currency nearly changed its name to ‘Dollarydoos’ after 70k signed a petition for it.

Ok, it didn’t really. BUT the very serious ‘Economy of Australia’ Wikipedia page DID change the currency to Dollarydoos before the Reserve Bank intervened and asked them to take it down*

*They didn't really, but LOL. 

What will you tackle next? Over to you, Australia.

Against All Odds, People Power Is Re-Writing These Shocking Injustices

Brock Turner walked free on the weekend after 3 months. He's the rapist found guilty of three counts of sexual assault on the Stanford University campus – with the judge issuing a lenient sentence because jail would have a 'severe impact' on the rapist.

1.3 million people slammed the judge's decision by signing a Change.org petition. There have been protests in the US. And now, in a significant win for the campaign for justice – it's forced the judge to no longer hear criminal or rape cases: 

“He’ll no longer stand in the face of rape victims and pity their rapist.” says the petition starter.

In Australia, petitions are helping grieving families and victims find justice – every week.

  • Gerard Baden-Clay's murder sentence was re-instated
  • The release of a serial child molester in South Australia was stopped
  • An inquest into the murder of a grandmother was won
  • A offender release centre was moved away from a childcare

The most stubborn, powerful institutions in the land - judges, courts, the whole criminal system - can be shifted. 

‘Insulting’ prison privileges to a peadophile rapist and murderer have been revoked

“It shows people power can force the government to listen. Thank you so much for remembering my daughter.” – Ebony's mum

Ebony Simpson, 9, was walking home from the school bus when a peadophile, Andrew Garforth, abducted her. He bound her arms and legs with wire then raped her repeatedly. He later placed rocks into her small school bag and tossed her into a dam, where she drowned.

He showed zero remorse – yet last year was given extra prison privileges including TV and sandwich toaster in his cell, extra time outside, and woodwork courses. 

Christine Simpson, Ebony’s mum, started a petition to Mike Baird asking to revoke these “insulting” privileges. It grew to 34,000 in just 24 hours and the very next day, putting so much public pressure on Mike Baird that the government agreed to remove all Garforth’s privileges. 

A woman was raped & then bled to death but two prime suspects were never prosecuted - until a petition changed everything

“After five long, painful years battling the justice system, our family had absolutely no hope for the future. But this all turned around when Carolyn started this petition for justice for Lynette and 70,000 signatures flooded in from across Australia." – Lynette's step-dad

Lynette Daley's naked body was found on a beach in 2011. Two men claimed they had "wild drunken sex" with her. But they burned a blood stained mattress and left her to die from huge internal injuries. Until this year, they'd never faced trial.

The petition successfully persuaded the Department of Prosecutions to charge and prosecute the two men suspected of killing her.

There are over 450,000 Australians taking action for criminal justice on Change.org – and it's working. Keep signing: 

4 things that restored our faith in humanity this week

In these bloody tough times, we need stories that gives us tingles of the spine variety and bumps of the goose variety.

Here at the Change.org Aus office, these 4 stories this week had us air punching in the name of people power:

1. Australia’s first ever bank note for blind people was released this week thanks to Connor, 15

“When I first found out Connor was blind, I crawled into a ball in and cried my eyes out”.  Ally, Connor’s mum, needn’t have worried that being blind would hold her boy back. This week her teenage son, “my superstar” made history. 

Many thought the new fiver was ugly It’s actually beautiful because of some tiny, barely visible bumps. Connor’s Change.org petition took on Australia’s toughest institution - the Reserve Bank. He persuaded them to put tactile markings on bank-notes so vision-impaired people like him could tell the difference. At first, they said no - even though they already printed notes with tactile markings for many other countries! 

Connor didn’t take no for an answer. A trip to Parliament, a high court case and 57,000 signatures later, victory was his. An artist even put his face on a fun re-design of the note in honour of Connor’s achievement:

2. Consumers will save almost $1 billion a year in annoying fees thanks to Klaus

From this week, big businesses aren't allowed to charge you hefty surcharges when you buy something on your card.

The cap on these pesky fees is largely thanks to Klaus, who used Change.org to campaign for three years. He felt pissed off on behalf of all consumers when he discovered that Jetstar charged 2670% above what it costs for them to process a sale on your credit card for . Now they can only charge 1 - 1.5%.

Thanks to Klaus’s dogged efforts, consumers will now save almost $1 billion a year. 

Cheers, Klaus!

3. Gerard Baden-Clay, who killed his wife has manslaughter verdict upgraded to murder after huge petition pressure

“Perhaps we should just do away with the legal system?” frothed journalist John Birmingham in Fairfax newspapers at those protesting the leniency of Gerard Baden-Clay’s manslaughter verdict for killing his wife, Allison. “Why bother with courts after all, when a couple of thousand angry punters are on hand with pitchforks?”

Many of the ‘mob’ were the 121,000 signers of Nicole’s petition to “appeal the decision reducing Gerard Baden-Clay's murder conviction to manslaughter.” This week, his murder verdict was reinstated. 

Nicole encouraged many of her petition signers to take to the streets of Brisbane in a rally led by TV personality Lisa Wilkinson that said: violence against women should never be excused. John Birmingham may call it ‘mob rule.’ We prefer to call it ‘people power.’

4. 12-year-old girl beats her bullies by sparking national anti-bullying movement

“I'm the most unpopular kid at school and people make my life a living hell” wrote Tayla, 12, on her petition which asked: “School bullying is killing me, please help.” 

Following her petition, Tayla’s mum wrote “Tayla is going to print out every caring comment made on her petition and fill her entire wall with them. She reads every one.”

The week after the petition, a Facebook group formed who arranged to meet Tayla from school and walk her home.

Since then, Tayla has inspired other families to speak out against bullying. In a TV special this week, Tayla spoke alongside a family who lost their daughter to suicide following bullying. This sparked a new national anti-bullying movement to do more to tackle this urgent problem in our schools. 

Tayla’s bravery inspired many and she spoke on TV about looking forward to starting a new life in Cairns.

Exclusive Interview With The Blind Teen Who Forever Changed Our Currency

Connor loves drumming, playing computer games and banter with his mum. He doesn’t allow his blindness to hold him back:

“Mum told me that she wishes every day that I wasn't blind. Obviously, blind is blind, but if you don't let it stop you, what's it stopping you from doing? Nothing."

Unlike most 15-year-olds, Connor changed the world today.

The new $5 note, released into circulation today, is Australia’s first ever bank note that blind people can read because it includes tactile markings.

Bruce Maguire, lead policy advisor at Vision Australia, said:

"As a blind person I think this change is one of the most significant — if not the most significant — inclusive actions I've seen in Australia in my lifetime. What really spurred the Reserve Bank on was the petition that Connor McLeod started.”

Connor started the petition after a frustrating Christmas present: “I got some money in a card and had no idea how much it was and how generous or tight-arse the present-giver had been! It was frustrating and slightly embarrassing.”

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He wanted to do something about it:

“If I come across something that doesn’t sound right, I like to do something about it rather than just complain. That’s what the Change.org tool helped me to do. Setting up the petition was the easy bit - convincing the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was harder, but then I had a squad of 57,000 petition signers to help me persuade them. It felt unlikely they’d listen to a young blind boy. But in the end, they had to.”

Connor’s mum helped him start a petition on Change.org. He was just 12 at the time.

Connor and mum Ally travelled to Canberra to deliver their petition to MPs and win cross-party support, including then Assistant Treasurer Steven Ciobo. They then took the RBA to the High Court. 

These actions, combined with the 57,000 petition signers writing to the RBA to keep the pressure on, resulted in victory.

“Above all, it means I can be independent”, Connor said. “I can’t wait for that. That feels good.”

PS - inspired by Connor’s story, artist Aaron Tyler has re-designed his fun take on Australia’s $5 note, featuring Connor in place of the queen:

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Aaron said: “Connor McLeod isn't a legend because he’s blind, he’s a legend because he saw an injustice and took action to make it right. Despite being told there’d be no tactile markings for blind people, he garnered support on Change.org. Next get the new fiver in your change, feel the new bumps, and think about how Connor has changed our banknotes forever. His spot on Straya Cash is a recognition of his ripper idea.”

CLICK to share Connor's inspirational story with friends and family.

These Petitions Uncovered A Shameful Bullying Epidemic In Australian Schools - Here’s What Happened Next

Australia's bullying epidemic is finally being exposed. Desperate pleas from a 12 year old girl and a grieving mum whose daughter was bullied to death is putting the issue on the agenda. 

It's even inspired SBS journalist Patrick Abboud to air a special investigation: "I was severely bullied at school and Tayla's story really resonated with me because of my own experience."

The piece is heart-wrenching – and the scale of bullying is shocking. But this expose wouldn't of happened without the bravery of Tayla and Melinda in speaking up. Watch the story: 

3 people die every week in Australia due to bullying. Melinda Graham is speaking out about her daughter Jessica being bullied to death last Christmas. She was just 14 years old.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. We arrived home to silence with Pepsi (Jessie’s dog) laying on her bed and what came next was unimaginable. Jack and I were about to find my baby chook gone. She left us. There was no life left.” Melinda says.

Melinda says this crisis demands a response from politicians – and 30,000 people have signed her petition calling for new anti-bullying laws.

“Bullying pushed my baby over the edge. Jessie got bullied to the extent that threatening messages - death threats - were actually sent to myself and my daughter. They would ring her, say horrible things, then hang up. We need to stand up and do what we can and keep fighting to stop bullies from doing what they do without consequence.

“I am angry and hurt and a lot of other things - my life will never be the same. I will continue to fight for Jessie. Each and every day I will get up and keep going to fight to criminalise bullying in Australia - to stop the perpetrators of this awful crime for getting away with it.

Click here to sign Melinda's petition calling on NSW Government to make bullying a criminal offence to stop perpetrators like those who bullied her daughter from going unpunished.

Tens of thousands of people are joining campaigns to end bullying in Australian schools on Change.org - find them here as part of Melinda's wider movement on Change.org.

The 5 ways a 16 year old made the Government act on dairy farmer crisis

When the news broke that Murray Goulburn was to slash milk prices RETROSPECTIVELY, leaving them thousands in debt, it shattered dairy farmers. Including 16 year old Chloe’s dad.

Today, the Prime Minister is meeting with one of Australia’s largest milk producer to intervene on the ongoing crisis leaving farmers bankrupt and forced to sell their farms. Here’s how 16 year old Chloe made the Government start listening:

1. An upset Chloe jumped on Change.org and started a petition

She asked the government to help stop “greedy corporates ruining Aussie farmers”:

2. Chloe bravely spoke to national media about her petition

One presenter called her a ‘refreshingly innocent’ voice on this political issue

3. The Deputy Prime Minister called Chloe

Barnaby Joyce called to explain how he could help, but she didn’t think his response was good enough

4. Chloe took her message to a rally with thousands of Australians

She continued to push for a solid solution for dairy farmers

5. AND met with key politicians

They agreed to back her petition and voice their support

VICTORY: with over 160,000 change.org users putting pressure on the Deputy PM, a $550 million emergency relief package for struggling dairy farmers was announced.

Today the Prime Minister is talking to the big corporate bosses responsible for the milk price cuts to ensure longer term solutions are in place for fair farm gate pricing in support of Aussie farmers.

The supermarkets are also feeling the heat to play their part in supporting dairy farmers and stop selling $1 own brand milk - you can sign David’s petition for Cole and Woolies to introduce a 20c milk levy here.

Show your support for dairy farmers by sharing this story below.

After her daughter's murder, this mum's fighting to close a loophole exposing kids to 'sick' online predators

Sonya Ryan’s 15 yr old daughter Carly was 'bashed, suffocated, and left to drown' by an internet predator, after he’d spent 18 months grooming her - read Sonya's petition.

Shockingly, it is not a crime for an adult to lie about their age when talking to a minor online, leaving children dangerously vulnerable. Watch Sonya's recent interview with SBS on why Carly's Law is needed, and sign her petition today:

18 'Lifelike" Child Sex Dolls Seized In Australian Government Crackdown After 60,000-Strong Petition

“I came across an advertisement on Child Sex Dolls while looking at Japanese news online. Who would think such a heinous insult to the sanctity of children would exist?”

A mum’s outrage has led to Government and Border Force crackdown on the importation of child sex dolls being shipped into Australia.

The crackdown comes after 60,000 people signed a Change.org petition started by a mum, and now supported by Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia – which was featured by ABC News, 7 News and the Sydney Morning Herald over the last few months. 

Authorities have confirmed that 18 dolls being imported from Japan have already been seized at the border.

These dolls aren’t just being confiscated - Australian Federal Police say they are enforcing penalties for importing, including fines of up to $450k and 10 years' imprisonment:

"The AFP continues to work closely with the Australian Border Force and state police agencies to bring before the courts those that seek to possess or are in possession of a child sex doll.”

The Japanese manufacturer of the dolls reportedly being imported into Australia by paedophiles told Fairfax media that he is "helping people express their desires, legally and ethically".

To date, at least one man found in possession of a child sex doll has reportedly been imprisoned and another case is currently before the courts.

You can add your support for this Aussie mother to ban the sale of these dolls by adding your support to her petition.

The Young People Tipped To Be Prime Minister One Day

This youth day, meet the teenagers who transformed Australia (despite having seemingly little interest in politics)

Chloe, 16, has always found politics “a bit confusing, I don’t know much about it and I’m not really into it.”

So far, so typical for many 16-year-olds. 

Except this is the same Chloe who was asked by Karl Stefanovic: 

“When will you run for Prime Minister, Chloe?”

It’s the same Chloe whose campaign inspired the support of Senator Nick Xenophon.

This is the same Chloe who rattled and persuaded the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce to deliver a $500 million rescue package to save dairy farmers.

When milk prices were slashed by greedy juggernaut dairy companies, dairy farmers like Chloe’s Dad faced bankruptcy. 

Chloe’s petition urged Barnaby Joyce to review the milk pricing system and offer a relief package for farmers like her Dad. When Barnaby Joyce phoned Chloe to ask her how many signatures, he was apparently shocked at the raw number: 100,000. Barnaby listened - and acted. Half a billion dollars in relief for farmers, including $2m to review the milk pricing system

Chloe’s just one of several teenagers who’ve become engaged in political issues through easy-to-use technology. 

Teens who might otherwise disengage from Australian politics feel empowered and involved in shaping the future.

None of this would happen without your signatures. This International Youth Day, it’s worth celebrating that our future is in good hands.

It’s in the hands of Connor, 14, who persuaded the Reserve Bank to print banknotes for blind people (who, incidentally, was also tipped to be next Prime Minister by Sydney Morning Herald Opinion Editor Helen Pitt):

It’s in the hands of Angelina, 16, who persuaded Aldi to stock cage-free eggs.

It’s in the hands of Josie, 14, who - 3 weeks after her mum’s suicide - persuaded Mike Baird to put domestic violence prevention lessons on the NSW school curriculum.

Young people should be seen and heard. Your signatures on their petitions are re-shaping the country and shaping our future leaders. 

As an openly gay footy player, I could only dream of this moment: AFL's Pride Game is historic

Jason Ball reflects on what the AFL's #PrideGame means, and how it all came about – read his incredible story: 
 

History will be made this Saturday night when St Kilda take on Sydney in the AFL’s inaugural #PrideGame. 

I'll proudly walk onto the field at Etihad Stadium to toss the coin. This is a moment I could only have dreamed of four years ago when I launched my petition on change.org calling on the AFL to do more to tackle homophobia.

Coming out in 2012, as the first Aussie Rules player at any level to do so in national media was nerve-wracking and daunting. I remember writing on Change.org: 

"This is a terrifying petition to write. But it’s important. I’d like to tell you what it’s like being a gay footy player..."

Growing up, the footy club was the one place I thought I'd never be accepted. Homophobic language was routinely used on the field and in the stands and it left me scared to be myself. Struggling in silence with my identity caused me so much heartache and pushed me to a very dark place.

This week, I was blown away as the leaders of our national game proudly stood together to celebrate and welcome the LGBTI community. I stood in awe as I watched rainbow flags raised above AFL House. And I have been humbled and inspired to hear elite AFL players speak to the national media about the shocking suicide rates amongst LGBTI Australians and how sport has a role to play in tackling this problem.

It has been an extraordinary week, but it is only the beginning.

On Saturday night, the 50m lines at Etihad Stadium will be painted in rainbow colours – the international symbol of gay pride. St Kilda players will wear jumpers with rainbow numbers, Sydney players will wear rainbow socks, and goal umpires will use rainbow flags.

The broadcast of the game on Channel 7 will feature conversations to raise awareness about the damaging impact of homophobic language in sport, and include stories from the LGBTI community to help make the game of AFL that we all love welcoming and inclusive for everyone.

I have no doubt that the #PrideGame and the community discussion generated around it will change lives.

None of this could have happened without your support of my campaign on change.org back in 2012. Then, I was a lone voice. But your encouragement gave me the confidence that I was on the right side of history, and it pushed the AFL to act.

Since then we have seen: 

And now, with a #PrideGame the LGBTI community can truly feel part of the AFL family. I cannot wait for Saturday night. It will be a groundbreaking event that will change hearts and minds.

We have come so far in such a short period of time, and I hope this weekend you will join me in celebrating that achievement.

For every kid struggling to come to terms with who they are, for the kid who loves footy but fears they will never be accepted in our game, this is for you.

This family dog with sunnies could be 'seized, destroyed' for barking

A Council-issued warrant to ‘seize and destroy’ Sandy, the Banwell family’s beloved pet dog, over a neighbour’s noise complaints sent Fiona into shock.

She quickly bundled Sandy into a car to take her to a safe hiding place and jumped on to Change.org, starting her petition to ‘Save Sandy’.

“I only expected 100 signatures”, says Fiona. But overwhelmingly, over 47,000 signatures have already signed to urgently halt the Council’s plans.

The floods of public support has made Sandy a local celebrity, making national news headlines:

But Sandy is not yet safe - currently ‘in hiding’ in temporary accommodation until she’s clear from the Council’s threats.

Help Save Sandy from Council ‘seize and destroy’ by asking your friends to sign and share Fiona’s petition here.

You can watch Sandy's story on Channel 9 News here.