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Byron Shire
May 30, 2024

Election 2023 – Lismore: Vanessa Rosayro AJP

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The Animal Justice Party candidate for the Seat of Lismore is Vanessa Rosayro. She may be a vegan bodybuilder for fun, but she’s very serious about the NSW Parliament. Photo Tree Faerie.

Vanessa (‘Ness to her friends) Rosayro, is running for the Seat of Lismore in the election at the end of next month. A dedicated vegan and animal advocate, Rosayro says the Animal Justice Party is about more than just loving animals.

What is your big number one issue that you’re looking at going into this election?

‘I’d say that species extinction is my number one issue. I don’t want to take away from the impact of what our community has experienced with the floods, but I feel like so much of the conversation at the moment is looking at short-term solutions.

‘I say that, acknowledging that a number of our community are facing hardship, but what the Animal Justice Party is encouraging us to do is to think about the issue more broadly. 

‘When I think about the extinction of animals, there is that perfect analogy of the butterfly flapping its wings over here causes a tsunami over there – I think the loss of species for our community would have catalyst catastrophic impacts for our environment and even our emotional wellbeing.

People who aren’t members of Parliament would certainly get the impression from watching the television that it’s a bunfight – Are you prepared for that sort of life in Parliament?

‘I’m not going to – I don’t believe that Parliament should be adversarial. I don’t think it should be a place where we work against each other. So I’m not going to prepare to represent the people who elect me in that way.

‘I would like to be a voice of rationality and compassion and kindness. I do feel like my kindness and compassion can be a strength in that space. 

‘Our community isn’t silly. They know that politicians engage in this form of behavior and they know that they engage in underhanded deals and that there isn’t transparency. I want to be someone that’s different in that space. I want to create a Parliament that perhaps represents what democracy should be, which is engaging in respectful conversation to reach a decision that takes into account the needs of all community members. And I think that’s possible. I don’t think that that’s a pipe dream. I think diversifying parliament, with the voices of people such as myself, would allow for that. Allow for that space.

What is your background – what did you study at uni? What did you train for? What skills do you bring to this?

‘I studied social work. I do actually have an undergrad in politics. I majored in Australia Politics. 

‘What social work allowed me to do was work with people individually, and I’ve done that for so long. And I think at some point you reach a space at which there’s only so much individual support you can provide before the systems around them continue and you just see the same cycle. So the idea of thinking about going into politics is about saying “Now it’s time for that broader systemic change”.

Why is it important to you that you’re in Parliament?

‘I’ve been a social worker for over 12 years. I have worked with disadvantaged people from mental health to drug and alcohol issues. I have worked in domestic violence and sexual violence. I have the capacity to work and hear people. The quality that I’ve acquired through working with people is that I listen. I don’t want to tell people what they should be doing, I want to hear what they need, and be able to represent those needs. 

‘I’m currently employed in a service that delivers outreach to the pod villages, the temporary flood accommodation sites, so in terms of understanding the needs of our community at this time, I work directly with the women and children who have been impacted and have been displaced. Many of these women and children continue to experience various forms of violence and disadvantage, both from each other and systemically. So, again, I bring the perspective of someone that understands and works actively within the community.’

Looking New South Wales Parliament at the moment what is the thing that frustrates you the most?

‘I guess what frustrates me is the lack of diversity, to be honest yet. And I think that the recent discussions around women in politics and their experiences, I think has highlighted that the space isn’t as welcoming and diverse as it could be. That certainly frustrates me. And I think to that extent, to the dominance of political parties – I’m quite inspired by the diversity that’s happening with independents and other minor parties having a voice there.

‘I think our Parliament should represent the diversity of views and the diversities of agendas for our community as a whole.

‘People are pretty pissed off with the politics – disgruntled and disenfranchised. It’s the same stuff that’s been rebranded and sold to us like we care and the role of the media in perpetuating some of that doesn’t help.

‘We’re told the problem is somewhere else. The problem is that the cost of living makes us look inward. It makes us experience financial fear. All of the different slogans are designed to keep us in that pattern. 

‘The difference with me, is again, that broader perspective. The real problem is the injustice towards animals and the real problem is the climate emergency and that we’re not addressing how interconnected we are. We’re not addressing how interconnected we as a human species are to that.

‘Thinking about some of the criticism that we are a “party for pets” – we have the evidence that tells us that animals are profoundly good for our mental and emotional wellbeing. But if we have animals, it’s an added cost. So my proposal is for Veticare which would enable people, like a Medicare scheme, to gain access to vet care. It’s publicly funded and it’s covered. We’re told the problem’s over there, but actually, the problem for our social and emotional wellbeing is to lean into what we know works: animals and the environment. 

‘It’s not about having more money in our pockets. It’s about those barriers to people being able to take care of themselves and their loved ones. 

‘We’ve got so many images of people throughout the floods, and I think of those ones where people are on their roofs with their dogs. It’s just that reminder that the dogs aren’t their pet. That’s their family. They’re not owning that animal – that animal is an extension of who they are – their loved one and they will go to extreme lengths to save that animal. It’s not a “pet”. It’s family. That just shows the strength and the connection we have to animals in our community.’

What do you do for fun?

I’m a vegan bodybuilder!

The Echo
has asked all Lismore Seat candidatesMatthew Bertalli, Adam Guise, James McKenzie, Vannessa Rosayro, Alex Rubin and Janelle Saffin MP – to answer the same set of questions.

View candidate interviews here.

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  1. “species extinction is my number one issue” , and the Party has been successful in that, by successfully introducing a change to Tenancy laws to force all Strata bodies to not prohibit pets, causing more native species loss of urban land habitat, and more urban wildlife killed by pets, and ensuring more incidents of pets going feral and living off killing wildlife. The party is now moving to put in a legislative change to force all landlords to allow pets in house blocks – got a rental property with lizards, birds and koalas coming through, if the Party gets their way then say goodby to YOUR critters that you love and facilitate on your land (and not to mention the 10s of thousands of ‘just for Christmas’ pets that their owners have killed annually. The Animal ‘Justice’ Party doesnt provide justice for our native species, but in fact is driving the annual kills of 2 billion native animals by pets, even higher, and is now engaged in bringing legislation to force legal displacement of urban native species habitat in your back garden.

  2. Never seen such a contradictory set of policies.

    John Lazarus is spot on too on the issue he has raised.

    “species extinction is my number one issue”

    yet this party’s policy is to play ignorant (to the point of promotion) to feral cats and pet cats that are decimating out wildlife, well documented by numerous scientific studies. These people live in fairy land, ‘protect all animals, humans are the cause of everything’.

    How can we protect native species? they say:

    “Fund research into safe, humane and effective fertility control methods.”

    By that time a bunch of native species will be extinct + there is no proof of 100% effectiveness however it is a potential solution to part of the problem, but continued hunting, trapping of feral cats and dogs is absolutely required. I bet these party members and voters mostly live indoors in residential estates, and have no real idea of the ecology sciences and real world solutions.

    What I don’t understand by their ideology (yes it is 100% an ideology), is that humans hunting or killing animals pest species is no different than say a feral car killing a native bird. Humans are of this planet, we are another form of animal. You can’t ignore thousands of years of natural history where humans have hunted and killed. eg. indigenous Australians are STILL hunting which seems to be omitted from their entire first nations policy:

    “First Nations people were caretakers of the continent and its inhabitants for tens of thousands of years and sovereignty was never ceded.”

    Note. this includes thousands years of hunting (doh!)

    so its ok for a cat to kill an animal because its not their fault (apparently) but its not ok for a human to kill a feral species to save threatened species and native wildlife because…because we are human?

    Honestly, this shows their view is very much in line with the anthropological centrist standpoint, and is similar to very conservative Christian beliefs, just without the god element, but that humans are above everything else, and we are not really just animals of this world.

    bonkers stuff

  3. Stick your head out and someone is going to take a swipe at it. The biggest issue here is change. It is desperately needed. Good luck Vanessa.

  4. Good luck Vanessa,
    When you’re in parliament you can push for a complete overhaul of the companion animals act, it’s currently a joke.


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