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  • Petitioned The Hon. Tanya Plibersek

This petition was delivered to:

Federal Minister for Health
The Hon. Tanya Plibersek
Health Ministers and Speakers
Greens Health Senator
Dr Richard Di Natale
Shadow Minister for Health
Peter Dutton MP
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary
Andrew Southcott MP
Parliamentary Secretary for Health
The Hon Catherine King MP

Stop Australians dying. Target world's best organ transplant rate.

    1. Graham Harrison
    2. Petition by

      Graham Harrison

      Thornleigh, Australia

Right now there are thousands of Australians waiting for organ transplants that could save their lives -- and every week, some die waiting. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2008 a major reform package was announced by the federal government, yet we continue to have one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.  The way the reform is being managed currently means the system just isn’t capable of increasing donation rates, and as long as there is little action, people will still be dying needlessly. We must show that this is unacceptable. All parties across government have a vital role to play in driving change that we urgently need, and they need to take the first step. That’s why I’m calling on all parties to help save more lives, by increasing targets to at least 30 donors per million people by 2016. It’s well within our reach -- and it will double the number of lives being saved every year.  Please help tell politicians that Australians deserve the best chance possible, and sign the petition.


This is why: 

Our son, Ben was born in 1982.  We counted our blessings.  Our little family was growing and life was great.   When he was a baby he needed a couple of operations and had fought through them and grown to be a happy, energetic, wonderful little boy. In 1993, at the age of ten we found that Ben needed an operation to address a curve in his spine.   On the day before the operation, I stood in our driveway as my wife, Elayne left for the Children's Hospital with Ben in our station wagon yelling "Bye Dad."  That was the last time I saw him awake.

After the surgery I went to the hospital. As I entered the waiting room I sensed something was wrong.   "There's been a complication," Elayne said.   As Ben lay in intensive care, I forced back the despair and tried to think positively.   Everything will be alright, I told myself.   After all, Ben was an old hand at medical emergencies.   Life-support machines winked and beeped in the cardiac intensive care unit at the Children's Hospital, as I hunched over the bed, gazing numbly at the unconscious figure of my ten-year-old son.   His body lay connected to a maze of tubes.   A ten-centimetre-wide strip of plaster ran down his chest.   As I had already done countless times that night in early Autumn, 1993, I vigorously massaged his hands and feet, trying to transfer some of my strength to him, willing him to keep going.   "Come on Ben, you have to pull through," I thought.   I was losing my son.   I saw it in his eyes whenever the nurse cleaned them.   There was nothing there - no sparkle, no life.   It is not fair!   My mind raged.   I haven't taken him bush-walking, or camping in the mountains, or all the other things a father plans with his son as he grows older.   The doctor took me aside.   He had done everything possible, he gently explained, but the gauges indicated that Ben's brain was dying, although further tests would be needed to confirm this.   Back in the ward, several nurses were crying.   Ben died at the age of ten.   We were heartbroken and devastated.   One positive thing we were able to do was donate Ben’s organs, and save some other families from the grief we were experiencing.   

 My name is Graham Harrison.   As a Donor parent, I have been a passionate advocate for organ donation in this country for almost twenty years.   It is hard to put into words what it meant to me to give consent for my little boy's organs to be donated, how organ donation has help me move forward with my loss, how powerful such a gift can be and how important it is for the community at large to become personally involved with organ donation and transplantation.   I think about Ben regularly.   Doing everything I can to ensure Australia’s low rates of organ donation are dramatically improved is something that connects me to him, and reminds me of the joy and gratitude those who received his organs feel.   I know that they also continue to think of him as the years go by.

There are thousands of people experiencing fear and sadness every day as they or their loved one hope for an organ transplant that could transform their lives.   One in three people on the waiting list die each year.   And those in need can end up waiting for many, many years.   I think of the families and friends left behind and I see it as an obligation to do whatever I can to ensure Australians in need have as good a chance of receiving an organ transplant and living as those living in the 23 countries with higher rates than us.   In 1989, just a few years before Ben died, the organ donor rate in both Australia and Spain was around 14 donors per million people.   Since then we have fallen way back to 24th with a donor rate current of 14.9 dpm, while Spain embraced major reform and now leads the world with a donor rate of 35 donors per million people.   Many other countries are now adopting similar systems and committing to change and showing that major reform is achievable. Although this forum is not appropriate, there is a great deal of documentation available to support such change within Australia.  

My aim is for an Australian target of 30+ donors per million people, with bi-partisan commitment.  

When achieved, twice as many Australians (2000) will be gaining a second chance at life each year.  Australians must expect no less than a target of 30+ donors per million people.   All parliamentarians responsible for health in our country must unite in recognising that Australia is way behind, and refuse to accept it.   A target is the first step. Without a common goal we lack the drive to achieve real reform in the country.  Join me to give many more the same wonderful gift, the same chance that Ben gave to others.

Thank you.


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 2,000 signatures
    2. The Importance of Organ Donation

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      Am sorry for those that may have missed my interview on The Circle yesterday, Monday 28th May.

      I missed it as well.

      Have to admit it was not half bad although they did not mention the petition I have on Change.Org requesting that the Fed. Gov. set a goal of 30+ organ donor per million of population. It Spain can achieve 35+ surely we Aussies can do it as well.


    3. Channel 10's The Circle organ donation screening deferred to 29th May 2012

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      The Circle on Channel Ten have decided to defer the screening of their Organ Donation segment to Tuesday 29th May to bring it in line with Kidney Health Week for greater impact on highlighting the need to set a high Organ Donor rate for Australia.

      Regards Graham Harrison

    4. Channel 10's The Circle will be screen an interview on Wednesday 23rd May

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      The Circle on Channel 10 will be screening an interview involving Elayne, Kyla and I on the subject of organ donation from a Donor Families perspective on Wednesday the 23rd May between 9am to 11:30am. It will also be publicising my petition currently on Change.org which is wanting the Federal Government to set the Organ Donor target rate at 30+ per million of population. I feel for those waiting on the current waiting list.

      Could you continue to spread the word regarding my interview and campaign.

      Regards Graham Harrison

    5. YouTube video covering Petition

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks are extended to Cornerstone Media who have generously donated their resources to enable me to present my Petition via video. I encourage you all to help me spread the word by forwarding the following YouTube link to your family and friends or share on your Facebook Page http://youtu.be/3327j8IhkyQ

      Let’s spread the word that we are not prepare to idly standby while Aussie’s continue to die needlessly due to the lack of donor organs. We need to force government health agencies to recognise that Australia must set a bench mark of 30+ donors per million of population to be achieved by 2016.

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. 200 and rising

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks to all involved with this petition. This afternoon we exceeded 200 signatures and current number is at 212. The Petition is starting to gain traction and it is pleasing to receive support from overseas as well. Keep spreading the word.

    8. Feedback from the Public

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      26 comments have been received so far and provide a very good insight as to how you the public are feeling. It is very encouraging. Let us maintain the momentum and invite other concerned citizens to sign the petition.

    9. A statistical insight

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      At present women have responded 66% to men at 34%.

    10. Hit our first milestone towards achieving a 30+ donor rate per million

      Graham Harrison
      Petition Organizer

      After only one full day we have received our first 100 signatures. At this rate it will not take too long to achieve our first 1,000. Please continue to spread the word among your friend's so that the momentum is maintained.

      Graham Harrison

    11. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Tony Sleigh AUSTRALIA
      • 9 months ago

      My daughter is desperately awaiting a lung transplant

      • 10 months ago

      It is critical to increase the organ donation rate to reduce people dying needlessly.

      • 11 months ago

      I am already on the donor list after consultation with my family and I believe we all should be unless a persons religious beliefs prevent them from doing so.

    • Trish Marshman GEELONG, AUSTRALIA
      • 11 months ago

      Because my daughter needs a transplant and I believe in it regardless of that.

    • Helen Griffith AUSTRALIA
      • 11 months ago

      So many people don't even think about how many lives could be saved by organ donations. I would like to ensure I can help others


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