Family’s desperate plea to save Sienna from deportation

A LENNOX Head family have made a desperate plea for intervention by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton so their six-year-old daughter, who has a mystery illness, doesn't get deported.

When Kai Tippett and his family moved from England in 2011, he said his then 10-month-old daughter displayed no signs of the illness that now has medical specialists baffled.

"We didn't notice anything wrong with Sienna until she was about 16 or 17 months old, when was walking around, and she started becoming unsteady on her feet," he said.

"Her symptoms affect her balance and speech.

"This has no effect on her cognitive ability and as quoted by her teacher 'she is an intelligent girl'."

To overcome her speech difficulties, Sienna is learning Auslan and sign language is regularly used in the Tippett home.

After visiting their paediatrician, Mr Tippett said they were referred to a neurologist.

"From that point she had so many tests, ranging from MRI's to lumbar punctures, to metabolic tests and muscle biopsies and every single test came back clear," he said.

A diagnosis may be reached by a next generation sequencing test, which examines each strand of DNA for defects.

Kai Tippett and Hayley Niedzielska with Sienna Tippett, 6, of Lennox Head, are appealing to the Australian Government not to deport them.
Kai Tippett and Hayley Niedzielska with Sienna Tippett, 6, of Lennox Head, are appealing to the Australian Government not to deport them. Marc Stapelberg

But to go to Germany for the test would cost $30,000, something Mr Tippett said Sienna doesn't want to do.

"She has had so many tests done she can't take it any more so we told her we will stop the testing," he said.

In April last year the family lodged applications for permanent residency and after background, criminal records and skills checks, they were notified in November they had been refused on medical grounds.

Mr Tippett said the decision that Sienna would be 'a burden to the Australian community' was based on a Commonwealth doctors report who had never seen his daughter.

With his family all currently on bridging visas, Mr Tippett launched an online petition which had more than 23,500 supporters yesterday.

"I am hoping and really praying that Mr Dutton reviews our case and overturns the decision that immigration have made," he said.

"This is our home; we really want to stay here more than anything."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the family had an ongoing request for Ministerial Intervention which is currently being assessed by the Department.

Show your support for the Tippett family by signing their petition at

Topics:  deportation editors picks immigration department lennox head peter dutton

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