20 Questions with Josephine Maguire-Rosier

Jo Maguire-Rosier made her mark on the Victorian Greens running campaign schools for candidates and volunteers and then as one of our youngest campaign managers.

By Rosanne Bersten
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Josephine is one of those people with a brain that operates at a million miles an hour. Her enthusiasm and passion for the Greens is infectious and her creativity and innovation ignores boring limitations like 'the way we've always done it'. She was a volunteer on Obama's campaign at the tender age of 23, worked on Adam Bandt's election campaign in 2013 at 24, was Campaign Coordinator and Lead Organiser for Sam Hibbins' successful Prahran campaign in 2014, and Campaign Manager for Jason Ball in the 2016 Federal Election. Now at just 28 years old, she's moved to Tasmania to run the next campaign for the Tasmanian State Election.

1. What do you remember about your first election?

Depends how you define first! When I was a young child, my grandfather ran for the Democrats. I don't remember much, apart from getting the leftover how-to-vote cards to draw on after the election. Does that count as early indoctrination?

The first time I remember being a part of our democracy was as a teenager. I helped at a Bennelong Friends of Refugees forum on people who seek asylum — when Andrew Wilkie was running for the Greens against John Howard.

The first time I voted, I voted Green. They were the only party with humane policies on people who seek asylum — but my brother said it was stupid to vote for the Greens because they can't do anything anyway. So I kept it a secret. (Don't worry, I've since persuaded my whole family to vote Green).

The first time I worked on an election campaign was with GetUp. Field organising in the ACT and in Wentworth (Turnbull's electorate). I ended up managing Turnbull's electorate on election day, and had the full election day experience — great sausage sandwiches, amazing happy volunteers, being accosted by the President of the Vaucluse Liberal Party, the lot! It was certainly interesting.

2. Favourite endangered Australian?

I don't really have one.

I love the Greens because of their policies which treat people with respect and dignity, not so much because they protect animals (don't get me wrong that's awesome too!). But, we are the only party who welcome people who seek asylum. We are the only party who talks about access to affordable, appropriate housing as a human right. We are the only party who want to help those who are battling with addiction, not punish them. We are the only party who are working to address climate change which represents one of the greatest threats to international peace and security.

If you were to really push me I'd probably say the Black Cockatoo. Only because the first time I saw one, I was with my grandfather at his place in the bush. And every time I see one, I think of him and smile. I miss him dearly.

3. What’s your precious place and why?

Probably my grandfather's old place — it borders Ku-Ring-Gai National Park in Sydney. It's beautiful bush. But it's probably more because the memories that are held there, than the place itself.  

4. Favourite Greens policy?

That one is easy, without a shadow of a doubt. Our staunch and unequivocal support for those who come to our shores and ask for help. I could not be prouder of anything else: We are the party who welcomes people who seek asylum. 

5. Best part of your work with the Greens?

The amazing volunteers I meet and learn from every day. Working with people who are there because they care, and nothing more, is an uplifting experience — which I am grateful for every day. 

6. What keeps you going?

Working out how I can make our work more effective and efficient than the last. If I can make a volunteer's time even more useful — I want to. Their time, and mine, is precious and our mandate is huge, so if I can make it easier to reach our goals together I will. 

7. Favourite political song?

Probably "Ciao Bella", a song about the organised Italian resistance to fascisim in world war two. Mostly because when I first learnt it I misheard the word "partigiano" (partisan, or fighter) as "parmigiano" (parmesan, the cheese) and spent a good few months singing about the rebellious cheese! 

8. Who inspires you? Why?

My mum. She spends her free time running a trauma therapy group for refugee young people in western Sydney, disguised as a theatre group. By facilitating the public telling of real refugee stories my Mum, and Treehouse Theatre, the group she works with facilitate trauma recovery and social integration of refugee young people, while actively changing the public's perception of the refugee experience. I could not be prouder of the amazing work she does.

There is even a documentary about the work she does! Check it out at http://www.castfromthestorm.com/ 

9. Comfort food?

Currently, cauliflower roasted with sumac. 

10. What would you spend $20 billion on?

A universal basic income. Or as close as I can get to implementing that policy with $20 billion.

11. Secret vice?

If I said, it wouldn't be secret!

12. Best coffee/drink in town?

I'm new to town, so I'm still working through the list of places! (But in the current weather, I'll never say no to a hot toddy).

13. Three apps you can’t live without?

Facebook (Yes, I'm a millennial!). Podcast/ABC Radio App. Ebay (it's the only way I find the time to buy things I need when I'm on a campaign).

14. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A dancer, and then a fashion designer, then a scientist/environmental engineer, then an economist. I'm nothing if not eclectic in my interests!

15. Morning run or night time swim?


16. What’s your greatest hope for the future?

That people join me to campaign for (and create) a better world. 

17. Magic wand to solve one world problem — what would it be?

Maybe eliminate poverty? Or create world peace? Not that I believe either of things would be possible. It's nice to imagine.

18. What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Dive in. If you aren't having fun, you are doing it wrong!

19. You can travel through time — where do you go?

I'd be too scared to wreck things. It's all too wibbily-wobbly timey-wimey for me!

20. If you weren’t doing this for a living, what would you be doing?

A few things come to mind. Running my own start up. Marketing. Or working with kids. 

Image: Jason Ball, Cass Stafford and Jo Maguire-Rosier discuss tactics during the Higgins campaign in 2016. Image by Julian Meehan.