Spotlight on our Government Leadership Group with Alex Selig

February 03, 2022

We caught up with Alex Selig, one of our Government Leadership Group members who lives with T1D. He chatted to us about what it’s like to represent the community in front of government members, the MPs he’s met with so far and progress for the Access For All election campaign. Click below to see the full conversation with Alex.

Alex Selig, GLG Member NSW

Why did you become a leader in the Government Leadership Group?

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) 3 days after my eighteenth birthday. Diabetes is an expensive and time-consuming responsibility – it requires constant attention and consideration. Certain technology targeted at monitoring and regulating blood sugars can significantly alleviate the stress and side-effects of living with T1D. Through my experience of working as a Peer Volunteer for JDRF it became immediately apparent to me that a significant portion of people with T1D do not have access to this technology. I joined the Government Leadership Group because I believe in its cause – to educate the Australian government and public on diabetes and improve access to this technology which can greatly enhance the quality of life of those living with T1D.  

What does being in the Government Leadership Group involve?

We are focused on educating Parliament officials about JDRF and its various causes, as well as building government relationships. The GLG meets monthly to discuss strategy, upcoming meetings and recent achievements. Individual members will look to connect with Members of Parliament and Senators to advocate for JDRF’s cause. 

What kind of activity have you been undertaking for JDRF’s election ask, and what do you hope to achieve?

Since joining the group, I have met with Mr Dave Sharma MP and certain other MPs to discuss JDRF’s mission and election requests. Mr Sharma has spoken directly to the Federal Health Minister about JDRF’s Access for All campaign and Mr Sharma has signed (along with several other MPs) a letter addressed to Mr Hunt advocating for JDRF. I have further meetings coming up with other Members of Parliament and have sent out a number of requests for meetings. I hope these meetings and connections result in further funding for diabetes related causes, greater awareness about the disease and its impact on a growing number of Australians, and ultimately policy change to give more Australians with diabetes access to this diabetes technology. 

What is the most exciting thing about being in the Government Leadership Group?

The GLG is a diverse and ambitious group, ranging from medical, HR, legal and finance professionals all with varied personal backgrounds and reasons for advocating about type 1 diabetes. Advocating with such a driven and united group of people is extremely motivating. By coming together, we have a stronger voice and cover more ground. Further, as someone with type 1 diabetes, it is heartening to know that groups like the GLG exist to educate about diabetes and promote the interests of the diabetic community. It is exciting to be a part of the machinery that works towards effecting this change. I look forward to seeing what great work the group continues to do as we head towards an election. 

What does it feel like when an MP listens and takes action following a meeting you’ve had with them?

That I am really working towards making a difference. Before joining this group, I had never thought about undertaking advocacy but always wanted society to have a better understanding of diabetes as well as stronger rights for those suffering with diabetes. Advocacy is challenging but rewarding. It requires resilience and patience, particularly when you are attempting to connect with Government officials you are not familiar with. However, when an MP takes substantive action after listening, it is not only validating but truly gives me hope that our advocacy is working towards real change.