My Australian Story: Saschveen Singh

  • 21 July 2023

In-between shifts at an emergency department in Perth, Dr Saschveen Singh took the time to tell us her Australian story and what drives her to help people on a local and global scale, from Indigenous health services in rural Western Australia to malaria vaccine strategy at the headquarters of Médecins Sans Frontières. For such an impact, she was recognised as a finalist in the 2023 WA Australian of the Year Awards.

Here’s Saschveen’s story, in her own words…

My Australian story begins before I was born, as a first-generation Australian born to immigrant parents. My grandparents were farmers in the close-knit community of Carnarvon after arriving in Fremantle on a ship from Croatia with my mum and aunties. My dad emigrated here from Malaysia to study medicine, making his forever home in WA and working as a country GP in the Pilbara for 12 years. My parents were very engaged in our local community there.

I was born in Newman on the traditional lands of the Nyiyarparli people of which the Martu people are the current custodians, and then I spent most of my school and university years on Noongar Boodjar in Boorloo (Perth). I’ve had the privilege of visiting, studying or working across many different parts of rural Australia and other parts of the world including the UK, Bangladesh, Peru, multiple countries across Africa, and France.

woman sitting under shade

Back home in Perth, I’ve worked regularly in general practice, adult and paediatric emergency medicine, refugee health, travel medicine and occupational staff health. Outside of medical health, I’ve been active in the arts including in the fashion world, starting a small fashion label with my sister when I was a student, and later working for the incredibly gifted Perth couturier, Aurelio Costarella. I’ve also been active in my local community through various cultural activities including many years as a volunteer at RTRFM, presenting on a music show featuring women and gender diverse artists, after my husband (a journalist at the time) encouraged me to join the presenters course at our community radio station where he also volunteers.

I think all of my life experiences so far are representative of being an Australian, having been exposed to such a variety of cultures and landscapes, and engaged in many communities. For me, being an Australian citizen starts with firstly acknowledging and respecting the incredibly rich history of our First Nations’ people, and also the cultural tapestry created in this country by immigration. I’m grateful to have had the opportunities that I have had to meet, engage with and learn from many different communities here in Australia.

Since the 2023 Australian of the Year Awards nomination, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to more people, including school groups, about the work that I’ve been involved with to help improve healthcare for vulnerable populations. It’s important to share messages from a more global viewpoint, to help them understand that although we may seem quite isolated here in Australia, we are a part of a very global community in an ever-changing world, and that our actions and intentions need to reflect this.

woman speaking to students in lecture hall

The Awards not only recognise the amount of commitment and work that nominees are doing to help their community flourish, but also encourages and inspires others to engage in volunteer work, community groups and community programs.

Being engaged in our community helps us make connections with people outside of our immediate circle and helps us challenge our beliefs and ideas. It encourages empathy and curiosity, and to help us see things from a different viewpoint. This concept of curiosity and how it forms vitals links to local connections, to individuals and to communities, has been by far the most integral component of my own journey, and has inspired me to get to where I am today.

So, I encourage people of any age and background to interact with people from different walks of life, in different environments, even where it may put you out of your comfort zone – so you can start your own journey.

Nominations for the 2024 Australian of the Year Awards close Monday 31 July 2023. Nominate now at

Thank you to the Office of Multicultural Interests for supporting this feature.

Back to news