One of the standout images of the weekend’s protests between far right and anti-racism groups was the sight of the deputy leader of an anti-Islam political party addressing a flag pride protest wearing an Australian flag dress with her clenched fist raised.
Rise Up Australia candidate Rosalie Crestani delivered a speech to members of the True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front on Sunday to ‘protect our Aussie flag’ outside Royal Exhibition Building, where the flag was first raised in 1901, in central Melbourne.
But how did the 42-year-old mother-of-two become the face of the far-right political party – going so far as hosting an anniversary for the Cronulla riots?
According to Ms Crestani’s bio on the Rise Up Australia website, her Christian father woke her up every morning by declaring: ‘Wake up, Australia needs you!’
Her father migrated to Australia from Germany after WWII, while her mother is third-generation Australian.
The party website says she has worked voluntarily with Indigenous communities, in prison ministries, the homeless, at a retirement village and amongst disadvantaged children.
She studied high school in New York, where she lived with her family for seven years before she returned to live in Melbourne in 1992. Ms Crestani then began working as a medical receptionist.
She later became a bodybuilding fitness model, winning the Ms Natural Australia Fitness Model at INBA (International Natural Bodybuilding Association) and the Ms Natural Olympia Fitness…