High-achiever Simone Singh, born and raised in Melbourne, works hard to have her voice heard for all the right reasons.

G’day India’s editor-in-chief, Mr Tonee Sethi, interviewed Simone Singh, a Senior Manager at Deloitte Australia, regarding her determination to expand her knowledge and skillset and be the people’s voice. Recently, at the Parliament of Victoria, Simone delivered her Pathways to Politics Program speech about her commitment to the community and making an impact in improving the livelihood of others. Simone shares, “Growing up, my parents always said there was a lot of potential in us to achieve what we want to do in our lives, and that drove me. When I look at Australia and our community, there is a lot of untapped potential in this country that we should be igniting, supporting and driving to make this place the best it can be for the future generations.”

Simone’s parents, Pushminder and Jaswinder Singh, migrated to Australia from Punjab, India, in the late 1980s and embraced the opportunity to work hard and build a good life over the years. Bearing witness to her parents’ strong work ethic and achievements, Simone learned to strive for what she wanted from a very young age: “I always knew that I wanted to have a voice. There’s a video of me when I was young. I must have been maybe five, and I was in front of the TV, and I was pretending to be the news reporter speaking to my whole family delivering the news. I wanted to be speaking; I wanted to be heard”

Simone’s aspirations led her to complete a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Melbourne. For three years, she has been with Deloitte, a global consulting firm, where she has worked her way up to Senior Manager. “I have always been interested in business and the impact good businesses have on people, communities and the economy. My work at Deloitte allows me to support businesses to be the best they can be, and I love what I do.” Beyond her formal daily duties, Simone adds, “I also work on the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategies, as a key part of our culture is inclusivity at all levels. I am particularly passionate about supporting women so that they are equipped with the tools to succeed in the corporate world and so that we make strides towards our female leadership goals”

Apart from juggling full-time commitments, Simone works hard towards an MBA at The University of Melbourne and is a board member for a not-for-profit organisation, Volunteer West. Also, as part of the 2021 ensemble, Simone was selected out of thousands of applicants to be one of only thirty participants in the Pathways to Politics Program for women.

Simone elaborates about the program and why she got involved: “My family, and I feel like a lot of Indian families are the same, you don’t raise your children to align to a specific political party, when they join university, they don’t go and join Young Liberals or Young Labor or anything like that. Pathways to Politics and other programs like this really help people who have not necessarily been brought up with the knowledge of what is involved in standing as a candidate in an election because there is a lot involved beyond campaigning. And programs like this help you through that process, they guide you, they educate you, and that’s something that I hadn’t experienced. We learn from a diverse set of MPs and experts in the program and are really given the foundations to make the big step into public office.”

Simone with fiance Amarjit Batra

As part of the program’s final module, Simone delivered her speech in the Parliament of Victoria: “All of the participants in the program get the opportunity to present their speech. A number couldn’t make it, unfortunately, because they had Covid, so it was a limited group, but it was an amazing experience. I mean, being in the Legislative Assembly, which is the hall that we were in, there was definitely a feeling of a kind of awe. There was something in the air in that room, and I think it’s the history of that room. I could see myself standing there in the future.”

Simone delivered an inspiring speech and addressed many things that she believes will help people reach and embrace their potential. One topic she shares with Mr Sethi is, “If you look at our Parliament, there’s not a single Sikh or Punjabi individual in there. That’s a big part of what motivates me to bring diversity to Parliament because Parliament needs to look like the community it represents.”

Simone also believes in inclusiveness, and it “comes down to ensuring that you have policy centred on including groups that otherwise are not included. We need to do that not only for our Indian community but other communities that are culturally diverse and are diverse in other ways, whether that be from a gender level or otherwise.”

Children receiving a quality education is something Simone considers vital because “that is often the thing that allows people to break the generational cycle of inequality… Education is often the tool that people use to break the cycle. It’s certainly the tool that I used as a launchpad for my life, and it was something that was incredibly beneficial.”

Simone’s family and friends are part of her unconditional support base as it can be challenging to juggle work and maintain a social life. However, the twenty-eight-year-old also knows how to look after herself amidst a hectic schedule by enjoying exercise and keeping fit. “I enjoy keeping fit; I love running, it allows me to switch off and clear my mind” she admits. Also, a committed runner, her dad joined Simone on Sunday, the third of April, in the 2022 Herald Sun/Transurban 15km Run for the Kids, which raised funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Good Friday Appeal.

Another contributing factor to Simone’s ongoing success is her partner of eight years, Amarjit Batra, and she describes him as her “number one supporter,” who pushes her to achieve more. She reveals that it is essential to surround yourself with people who are a positive influence, “I am very blessed to not only have amazing parents, but my amazing future in-laws, Harpal and Sonia Batra, who support me unconditionally.”

We wish Simone Singh all the best for her future as she navigates her demanding work commitments and busy lifestyle to represent the community and be our voice of reason. She will keep striving to secure the political foundations and all that is necessary to be ready to run for the State or Federal Election one day. Simone reminds us that there is more work to be done, “I believe in ensuring people who reside in Australia have the best opportunity to be represented by their government, their leaders, whether that be their local council members, their state MPs or their federal MPs. They have a duty to represent the voices of our communities, I hope that I am given the privilege to do so one day.”

By Agata Zema