South Australian senator and inveterate showman Nick Xenophon insists he shared the nation's relief when Malcolm Turnbull put Tony Abbott's prime ministership out of its misery.
"It was good for the country and that's my primary consideration. The pall of negativity that covered everything under Abbott was lifted," he says now.
But just as the leadership change cruelled Bill Shorten's chances of ever becoming prime minister, it dealt a heavy blow to Xenophon's plan to build a new national political party.
"Before, achieving these goals was like climbing Mt Everest without oxygen," Xenophon is fond of saying. "Now we're climbing Mt Everest without oxygen on crutches."
Elected to the South Australian Parliament in 1997 on an anti-pokies platform, Xenophon went federal in 2007, winning almost 14.8 per cent of the state's Senate primary vote – an extraordinary result for someone without the reach and resources of a party machine.
It was a success built on personal charm, populism, some compelling arguments and skilful media manipulation.
He won again in 2013, attracting more Senate votes than the entire Labor Party. And had it not been for some highly dubious preference deals – Labor and the Greens both put the deeply conservative Family First ahead of the centrist Xenophon – he would have brought a running mate, small business advocate Stirling Griff, with him to Canberra.
A little over a year later Xenophon announced he was setting up his own party: the Nick Xenophon Team.
It's a name he's not at all comfortable with – "It seems ego-driven or self-centred" – and he's fully cognisant of the risks of personality-based political parties: he had front-row seats for the spectacularly swift self-destruction of the Palmer United Party, after all.
But he ultimately took the view that his name recognition is one of his key electoral assets. An unrelated name – he toyed with Australian Centrist Party – would only create confusion.
When Xenophon called for candidates about 450 people put their hands up. After spending much of 2015 narrowing down the list he's decided to run candidates in at least 15 lower house seats – about half in SA, the others spread across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – and two Senate candidates in each of the six states.
Candidates are expected to share some of Xenophon's key concerns – predatory gambling, government accountability, the future of Australian manufacturing – and have a commitment to the rather more nebulous concepts of "common sense" and "fairness".
While he doesn't wholeheartedly welcome the comparison, he's trying to stake out the pragmatic middle ground once occupied by the Australian Democrats, but less rarefied, more retail.
So how will he fare?
Under Abbott, his prospects were promising. Analysts predicted he could pick up another Senate seat and as many as four lower house seats in his home state, knocking off the likes of government minister Christopher Pyne in Sturt and the recently-demoted Jamie Briggs in Mayo.
A ReachTEL opinion poll last July showed an unnamed Xenophon candidate would beat Pyne 38 per cent to 31. That result sent shockwaves through the Abbott government and was seen as a key reason why Pyne shifted his support to Turnbull – although the minister denies this.
In those days, anything seemed possible – maybe even wins in a couple of seats outside SA. Xenophon is running a candidate against Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah (assuming the former PM runs again) and a number of other government figures such as Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer in Victoria and Ian Macfarlane in Queensland.
But post-coup, things are different.
"I think they're going to struggle in the lower house," says University of Adelaide political scientist Clement Macintyre. "I wasn't saying that when Abbott was prime minister, I thought there was every chance they were going to take a couple of South Australian seats.
"But the change to Turnbull has really changed the mood."
Professor Macintyre believes Xenophon may now have a better chance of taking the seats of Adelaide and Makin from Labor. But if the major parties preference against him again – a sure sign that they're worried about his growing influence – his candidates could be locked out.
"The temptation for the major parties to take out an MP from the other side will be great but breathing life into the Xenophon phenomenon in SA is fraught with risks," Macintyre said.
ABC election analyst Antony Green says after eight years in federal parliament, Xenophon has good name recognition outside SA and could poll as high as 10-12 per cent in the eastern states.
"But that's not enough to pick up a seat," Green says.
"He would still have a chance in some seats in South Australia now but even then it's going to be tough."
Xenophon's difficulties are compounded by a lack of money. Without any corporate or union support he's largely reliant on public donations, which haven't exactly been flooding in.
According to his website, the party has attracted only three donations over the $12,500 public disclosure threshold.
Xenophon can barely afford to visit his own candidates (he's refusing to charge taxpayers for any party-related travel) let alone drop substantial sums on advertising or polling.
He's dipped into his own pocket – taking out a new $100,000 mortgage on his house – to cover campaign costs.
"We're running a very lean operation," he says. "This is not so much a shoestring budget as a dental floss budget."
There is some good news for Xenophon: both Macintyre and Green believe Griff, who's now doubling as Xenophon's lead SA Senate candidate and the party's campaign manager, will secure a seat.
That's not exactly the sweeping success Xenophon hoped for. But he's staying upbeat.
"I think the electorate is more willing to switch votes than ever before," he says. "I'd like to think we can pull off a number of upsets."
Macintyre points out that while his prospects are not particularly rosy at the moment no one took Xenophon particularly seriously when he first ran for office – and now he's a political mainstay.
"You underestimate Nick Xenophon at your peril."