The Hunter Valley girl who stole the spotlight from Treasurer Joe Hockey to get a selfie on Budget Day is a humanitarian with a bright future, educators said.
The student at the Hunter Valley Grammar School interrupted Mr Hockey’s press conference outside Parliament House on Tuesday as he was rejecting the business community’s assessment of his childcare subsidies.
“Hello. Can I please have a selfie?” asked Anika Buining, 16, on what is the most important day of Mr Hockey’s political life.
“Sure,” he said. “Yes!” said Anika. She snapped the picture and ran towards the front doors of Parliament House while the press conference continued.
“Thank you. It wasn’t a set-up,” Mr Hockey said laughing uncontrollably. “Never met her before in my life.”
The year 11 student was on a week-long Rotary-organised trip to observe parliament in Canberra, said teacher Derek Fisher, Anika’s head of year.
He said she has been part of the year-level leadership group since 2014 and has organised breast cancer fundraisers for the school.
“She wants to make a contribution, for sure. Everything she has demonstrated so far has been more in the social, humanitarian aspects rather than governance and policies,” he said.
“She’s been more about helping people.”
He described Anika as “independent and diligent” and said he didn’t know her political leanings.
“She’s got the verbal skills, and she wants to do well. She’s very resilient,” he said.
For her part, Anika told Fairfax Media she thought the press conference was over when she bounded in to snap a pic.
“There have been a few media reports that said I interrupted [Mr Hockey] – I didn’t,” she told Fairfax Media. “He said ‘Is there anything else?’ and all the journalists had stopped speaking. I said ‘Would you be willing to take a selfie with me?’ and he said ‘That’s fine’.”
Anika told Fairfax she was a keen political observer: “I watch Kitchen Cabinet very, very closely”.
“I think seeing them [politicians] in their own environment is quite interesting.”
Despite barely being able to contain her excitement at being surrounded by politicians, when asked if she had parliamentary aspirations, she stayed on the fence.
It seems she’s already got the required skills.