I was delighted to interview Federal Member for Lilley, Anika Wells, shortly after her election.
This story originally appeared in the July 2019 edition of The Sandgate Guide
For Anika Wells, the new Federal Member for Lilley, it was the sight of tens of thousands of women marching across the United States that made her realise it was time to stand up for what she believed in.
One of a handful of millennial MP’s recently elected to parliament, the former lawyer said she knew she had a responsibility to do all she could for her young daughter and the community she loved.
“During my pregnancy in 2016, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and, let’s just say it was a tough pregnancy,” Anika said.
“Overnight, I found myself reliant on the PBS and the hospital system. Our little girl arrived three weeks early, just days after Donald Trump’s inauguration. I remember lying in the hospital bed watching the Women’s March and I really identified with those women.
“Those women had presumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win and that society would continue to progress, and improve and they just took that for granted.
“With Celeste in my arms, I was just horrified that my daughter had been born into the Trump era and in that moment, I realised that I too had been taking so much for granted.”
Anika had some political experience behind her, as well as her years in the law. She said that when Wayne Swan decided to retire from politics, it felt as if “everything had aligned”.
“I felt that Federal politics was where I wanted to be – that’s where the big questions are being answered,” she said.
The election was a close one, with the seat of Lilley not officially being called for Labor until some time after polling day.
“Labor have always treated Lilley as a non-held seat – 1229 votes was the margin in the end for me,” Anika said. “I’m very excited about this job and I’ll be advocating for all the projects the northside needs.”
Anika added she had been inspired by the late Labor prime minister, Bob Hawke.
“I’m a child of Bob Hawke’s 1980s Australia, I’ve been elected to the House that he built,” she said.
“We’re the generation that is going to be left with the consequences of what parliament does now, so I feel the weight of that responsibility.
“I just hope to be able to further his (Hawke’s) progressive agenda and I want to say a big thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone who supported me.”