We all strive to make a difference in our lives; to leave the world a better place than when we got here. For some, that motivation extends well beyond their lifetime – like Rose Read, who explains why leaving a gift in her will to the GReens is so important.
Interview by Rosalie Gorton-Lee
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your interests and your passions?
I’m currently retired, which provides a fantastic opportunity to decide where your energies and focus lies.
Politics has probably always been a big passion of mine since probably the 1970s. I've been active in environmental groups and these days I'm mostly involved in our local climate action group.
I came to the Greens in the mid-90s, so pretty early days. What attracted me wasn't any one particular issue – it was the basis of the four pillars and the Green agenda, which was to transform politics and make the world a safer, more equitable place for everybody, globally.
That's a big agenda! And it's only been confirmed and reinforced over the time that I've been a member, which is probably about 25 years.
I see the need for that agenda is more urgent than ever before, as we see the growth in inequality, the demise of our ecosystems and all of the challenges that the climate crisis brings.
If you took all your eggs – all your time and energy – what basket would you put them in? For me, I've decided that the basket is predominantly, but not exclusively, the Greens. I'm not Gina Rinehart or any of those top dogs who’ve got the cash to splash. So where can I as an individual have the most impact to pursue the kinds of changes I want to see?
It was pretty evident back in the 90s that the Greens had the only agenda that would fulfill those objectives. And that's only been reinforced time and time again.
Can you tell us a bit more about your current connection to the Greens?
I started to get really active in the Greens through election campaigns and locally through my branch. Little by little, I became a candidate, an office bearer in my branch, and a state councillor.
Then I became a state co-convener at one point on the state executive, and I'm still a state councillor and have also been involved in the Asia-Pacific Greens as one of the two Australian councillors.
And while I'm not holding any office bearer or executive positions, I've still got roles to play and I get involved in projects. And I've just drafted our branch fundraising plan for the election and doing lots of other things.
What was your motivation for deciding to leave a gift to the Greens in your will?
When it came time to think about how and where I would put any things I have leftover when I die, I thought about what was really important to me. And clearly, from what I've said and where I put my energies, it was a no-brainer.
I know that investing into the Greens has immediate benefits, but also that we're in for the long haul. And the Greens, I believe, will continue to grow. We have little incremental leaps, and sometimes we go backwards a bit, but the agenda is consistent and debated. So it's an investment. That's just critical.
Have you thought about exactly where you want your money to go?
Politics is volatile. Times change; circumstances of the party change. I'm more than happy to leave it for those who've taken on those responsible positions to make a decision about that.
What would you say to someone who’s considering leaving a gift in their will to the Greens?
Think about where you want your legacy to have most impact in all the areas you really care about. The impact and influence of the Greens in our country is significant and should not be underestimated. Imagine Australia without us!
What's your greatest hope for the future?
Long term it's to completely change politics in Australia and globally; so that people and ecosystems are first and foremost. That involves a major shift from where we're at right now, economically, ecologically, socially.
Short term, in the next election, I sure hope we get those extra senators. And I'd just love to rock the foundations of the conservatives who aren't conservative at all – they’re hellbent on destruction as opposed to conserving.
So my greatest hope is to see young people and older people like me joining together and working together to shake the tree.
At this year’s Invasion Day rally, they asked people who had never been to one before to put their hand up. And just loosely looking around, probably about a third of the people there had their hands up; probably about 80 percent of them were under 25. That gives me great hope, as well as when it comes to the climate.
Rosalie Gorton-Lee is the Australian Greens’ Bequests Officer.