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Meet Rosalie Crestani, mother of two and deputy of far-right party Rise Up Australia
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Meet Rosalie Crestani, mother of two and deputy of far-right party Rise Up Australia

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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 Model in 2000.

She then started a 'consultancy business in the photo album industry' before she made her way into politics.

In December last year, Ms Crestani was MC for the 10th anniversary of the violent Cronulla riots.

In November, 2014, she tried to ban the council from publicly supporting or assisting LGBTI people, and tried to ban diversity training for staff, Herald Sun reported at the time.

She has actively spoken out against the anti-bullying Safe Schools program for LGBTI students.

She is Deputy Leader of Rise Up Australia and the second senate candidate for the party. Ms Crestani is a Councillor of Casey in Melbourne's south-east.

She told Daily Mail Australia her anti-Islam sentiments rose following September 11, which she took 'hard ... as if a terrorist attack had occurred against my family'.

'I spent five years delving into Islam, reading many autobiographies, articles to the Koran itself.

'I had read enough to know genuine concern amongst my constituents was definitely warranted,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'I would consider myself a staunch patriot with a heart to see Christian values return to the halls of Parliament.'  

In April, an application to build a mosque in Casey was rejected by council because of the building's height and bulk, ABC reported.

Ms Crestani said she would probably always oppose the mosque, despite the council report saying concern about its social impact was unfounded.

In July last year at a Reclaim Australia rally, Ms Crestani said the Koran should come with a disclaimer to warn of violence and hatred.  

She acknowledged the Bible also has passages of violence, but said: 'The full scope of the Bible is about love rather than trying to incite war. I think the majority of the Koran, in my understanding, 60 per cent of it is about war and inciting war.'

At the time, she told Daily Mail Australia those who believe the 'fundamental verses' of the holy book should 'leave Australia'. 

In its list of policies, Rise Up Australia acknowledges 'freedom of religion, provided the religion is tolerant of other religions'.

The party is anti-Islam and says they 'refuse the Muslims the right of their religion'.

'Our goal is to keep Australia Australian! We oppose multiculturalism but support a 'multi-ethnic' Australia where there are many races but 'one culture'. We rejoice that people who come here from other nations are free to celebrate their own diverse backgrounds, while respecting Australian culture and complying with Australian laws.'

'Rather than uniting the country under one flag, multiculturalism has had the completely opposite effect,' the website reads.

The political party also has a policy condemning Nazism. 

Along with Ms Crestani, Daniel Nalliah of Rise Up and Blair Cottrell of UPF also spoke at the flag pride rally on Sunday.

About 120 far-right activists marched down Spring Street with Australian flags and sang the national anthem.

Australian flags were burned by the anti-racist group at the protest.

Following the clash, United Patriots Front (UPF) wrote on Facebook on Sunday: 'Setting fire to the Australian flag should be a jailable offence.'

About 200 anti-racism protesters rallied outside State Parliament on Sunday, while about two dozen masked members of an anti-fascism splinter group clashed with police and media even though the two opposing rallies were kept apart by more than 400 police.

Three people were arrested – two for assaulting each other in a fight and one for damaging a news photographer's camera.

On Sunday night, SBS television documentary The Goddam Election! by John Safran aired, and said the anti-Islam movement had been whitewashed by progressives and is in fact a multicultural group.

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