Paul Toner, the man who started the CommunityRun campaign just sent the following letter to his 140,000 supporters:

With the support of 140,000 people around the world, I just won my campaign on CommunityRun to stop the deportation of Ali Choudhry and give Ali and his partner Matt their lives back.

Last Friday, Ali and Matt were facing an uncertain future. I believe that Ali is in a committed, long-term relationship with an Australian man, but he faced the terrifying possibility of being deported to Pakistan – a country where he has never lived as an adult, where he can’t read or write the language and a country where homosexuality is punishable as a criminal offence.

I could never have imagined how big this campaign would get when I started it just six days ago. My wife heard about Ali and Matt’s story on the radio driving to work and once she told me about it, we both agreed we should do something. I believe that people deserve a chance to be happy, but it seemed to me like Ali and Matt weren’t getting a fair go.

I did a bit of research online about Ali and Matt’s story and ended up starting a petition on CommunityRun. I posted it on my Facebook wall and thought if it went well, the petition might get a few hundred signatures.

But in just six days this little petition took on a life of it’s own and helped change Ali and Matt’s lives. Now the ABC has reported that the Department of Immigration have confirmed Ali’s bridging visa. With a bridging visa, Ali and Matt can stay together while they wait for the Migration Review Tribunal to hear Ali’s case.

This campaign was the biggest and fastest growing CommunityRun petition ever. Together, campaign supporters put pressure on the Minister with over 140,000 signatures, a public delivery to the Immigration Minister, tweets and emails to his office and loads of media stories. That pressure forced the Department to do what they had failed to for months: confirm a bridging visa for Ali allowing him to remain in Australia.

It still won’t be easy for Ali and Matt. On a bridging visa, Ali can’t work in Australia and the outcome of his appeal is still uncertain. But together we helped prevent Ali’s deportation and gave the couple a chance to be happy.

CommunityRun exists so that any GetUp member, like you, can start a campaign, just like I did, and change something in their street, their town or across the country. If you see something that isn’t fair or needs to change, you can change it. Through CommunityRun you can start a campaign, connect with people who feel the same way you do and take action together to change things for the better.
In the past, I’ve signed a CommunityRun petition to stand up for regional journalism and stop jobs being offshored from the Newcastle Herald, the local paper in the town where I grew up. I also signed a petition for a successful campaign to save the Barrett Adolescent Centre. That campaign locked in State government funding for a critical adolescent mental health facility that provides support to hundreds of vulnerable teenagers each year in my local area. Every day, people are using CommunityRun to create fantastic campaigns.

So what campaign will you run?


Thanks a lot,

Paul Toner.

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