Lismore candidate: Get to know Vanessa Rosayro, Animal Justice Party

Where did you grow up?

I was born in and grew up in metropolitan Melbourne. In my 20s I moved to Sydney and after 10 years of Sydney city living I went searching for a quieter more meaningful lifestyle for myself and my young family. My search led me to Lismore and I have been part of this community for the past five years.

What was your childhood like?

My parents migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka in the 1970s and like so many they came to Australia in search of a better life. I watched two people embody a solid work ethic driven by the dream of home ownership. Looking back now, I realise the struggles we faced to realise that dream, but at the time, I had all I wanted.  

Any standout memories?

My childhood deeply shaped the woman I am today. I experienced compassion for those are financially disadvantaged and for those who struggle to belong in Australia. I am a woman and of brown skin and in my life these factors have influenced and shaped by experiences. My most outstanding experiences have been those related to my journey into motherhood and how these influenced and have driven my passion for creating a kinder, compassionate and safer world for people and especially for animals.  

What careers/work have you had?

I am a social worker and have had the privilege of working with First Nations youth in Redfern, those experiencing substance misuse, those engaged with our mental health system, and more recently in my career, whose  lives have been impacted by violence and abuse, both sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. I currently work with women and children who have been flood impacted and displaced, residing in temporary accommodation, and those women and children who continue to experience violence and abuse or live with the trauma symptoms of childhood sexual abuse.

What is your life like now?

My life is full of meaning and motivation. It is an honour and privilege to advocate for those who are unable to do so themselves. I believe that in order for people and the planet to thrive, we must address animal welfare in our community.   

How do you relax/unwind?

Physical activity has been vital for my mental wellbeing. I have been vegan for seven years and participate in competitive bodybuilding. I have two fur babies, Renny and Leo. Spending time with them is grounding, as is getting out in nature.

Why did you go into politics? Is this your first time running?

This is my first time running in an election. While my journey began as a vegan, the longer I have stayed on this journey, the more information I have obtained about the treatment of animals in puppy farms, the conditions around live export, the threats of habitat loss and endangerment of native animals like koalas and the culling of kangaroos. I knew there was more that I could do.

What are the three most important values to you?

What drew me to the Animal Justice Party was the alignment of my values with the party I represent. I value Kindness, which enables me to act from a place of being able to see the world through the eyes of others. I value Equality for animals and people. Equality in society celebrates and respects diversity and minimises suffering for all. I value Rationality. We are evidence-based and look towards sustainable and sensible solutions for making life better. I also value non-violence, in which I act in way that reduces harms to animals and environment and work towards ending violence for all.

You have the power to change one thing in Australia – what would you choose?

While I would like to make vegan ice cream free for all, if I had the power to change just one thing, I would choose to end animal suffering.

We will be publishing profiles of all candidates in the seats of Lismore and Clarence.

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