1. What was your first job?
My first job was in Italy, in my hometown of Genoa where I worked for a short period in the Passengers dept. of the big Dutch shipping company. When I arrived in Australia in 1959 I started working for the Italian newspaper La Fiamma first in the office and then doing their weekly radio program on 2SM, The Italian Hour, even though it lasted 3 and half hours. I loved broadcasting and I made many friends. The experience I gained then helped me a lot in the mid seventies when I was one of the founders of 2EA (2 Ethnic Radio) which was the beginning of S.B.S. (Special Broadcasting Services)
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always thought I would have liked to become a doctor, but in those days in Italy, girls were not encouraged to go to university and my father thought it would have been a waste of time and money as I would get married and forget all about it. It did not happen that way.
3. What does your job involve now?
In Australia I became involved in politics and became the first woman of Italian background to be elected to an Australian Parliament. I was a member of the New South Wales Upper House for 18 years.(1981-1999) I loved my work and I worked very hard both at community level and at parliamentary level.
4. Are you thinking of trying your hand in anything else?
Well since I retired I have become involved again in community volunteer work. I became a telephone counsellor for life line and I have been doing volunteer work once a week. I love talking to people, listening to their problems and helping them to look at all the options they have
I am still the President of the Italian Australian Women's Association which I founded 23 years ago. I love my work with the women and we are a very friendly and loving group.
5. What is the biggest challenge you face at work?
In my work in Parliament of course I faced many challenges, but as I said I loved my work. I am and I have always been a very early morning riser and very often I would be already in my office at 7 am. It was a quiet time that enabled me to do a lot of work well before the normal day started. It is very important to get to work early and be able to plan your day properly
6. What is the best part of your job?
I loved being in touch with people and being able to help them. The greatest joy of my life was always when I was able to rectify an injustice, was able to right a wrong, was able to give hope to people. to make them understand that other people cared.
7. What is your advice for people starting out in your industry?
I think people should try as much as possible to do a job they really enjoy. Work is such a big part of one's life that it is important to be able to enjoy one's work.
That is not to say that we all get a "low-day" a day full of frustrations, a day when we wish we were a long way away. But if one keeps in mind that this is also part of life, it is easier to get through the difficult periods.
8. What makes you happy?
To be able to be "useful", to feel that in my very small way I have contributed to the community.
So that I have not lived in vain, I have always kept in mind the words of Martin Luther King who said:
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"