After weeks of campaigning, freshly elected Canberra MP Alicia Payne was stopped outside the Lyneham shops on the Monday after the election, when someone asked her why she wasn't working that day.
It was a friendly question, and she had to laugh it off. She was only grabbing a coffee for five minutes, and the person who asked didn't get to see the number of emails she had responded to that morning. A lot of people, she says, don't realise how hard politicians work.
"That's part of, I think, the distrust of our political process and politicians and that's something for my part I hope I can influence," she says.
Speaking to The Canberra Times on Tuesday, Payne isn't quite sure what comes next for a newly elected member. She expects someone will get in touch after she is declared the member about an office, but isn't sure when she'll get to set foot in Parliament House.
But it won't be unfamiliar territory up on the hill. Along with a career in the public service, Payne has worked in the offices of former finance minister Lindsay Tanner (a job she applied for after seeing an ad in the paper), Bill Shorten and Jenny Macklin.
Payne doesn't say whether they've had any advice to pass on, but the example of hard work they set was important - even in the safe Labor territory of Canberra.
"I'm not going to say it's a safe seat... even though the projections or the result this time may suggest that it is - it's more the point that I think it's irrelevant to the task," she says.
"So regardless, I will do my best to talk to as many people as possible, to listen to people, to advocate on their behalf and I think that's what we need to be showing.
"To me, that's the job of a politician anyway - that's what I should be doing regardless of how safe the seat is."
Alicia Payne was born in 1982 and grew up in Canberra, went to Kambah High and then on to Sydney University to study economics and social science.
Her parents - her mother, Trish, is an academic who has written on the role of backbenchers ("She's got lots to tell me," Payne says), and her father, Stephen, is a former Canberra Times journalist who covered the public service and later became political staffer - grounded a young Payne in good "Labor values".
Although Payne joined a walk-out at high school opposing French nuclear tests in 1996, it wasn't until university that her political conscience really developed.
"The thing that I first got involved in at uni was refugee stuff, [the] Refugee Action Collective. Being at uni and studying politics, it was really there that I guess I started to get really aware of things," she says.
It wasn't until 2006 that Payne joined the Labor party, while working as a researcher at the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling. Changes announced by the Howard government in 2006 to put sole parents on Newstart galvanised Payne's political action.
"I didn't work on that project, [but] I was looking looking at the numbers and the impacts and that was a big part of that debate," she says.
"I think some NATSEM research came out showing just how bad it would be for the sole parents, which I think eventually influenced the age being moved from six to eight for the youngest child.
"But that for me was a tipping point where I was like, 'I want to go in and join the party and get involved in getting rid of the Howard government in whatever way I can'," Payne says. She has door knocked, letter-boxed and campaigned in every election since 2007.
For Payne, economic modelling is at the centre of policy thinking, and she points to the 2014 Abbott government budget as an example where the numbers didn't stack up.
"I think usually in our current environment, it's so easy to be written off as being one way or the other, just when the modelling shows something that should be obvious," she says.
"I think evidence and distributional analysis is so important in policy making and usually they back up a fairness objective. Aside from ideology, our economy needs people to have decent incomes to feed back into the economy and it's got an economic argument for it as well."
Payne says her highly active policy mind doesn't really switch off, but she does enjoy bushwalking and kayaking with her husband, Ben, and spending time with their young son, Paul - though he has made the kayaking a bit trickier.
While Payne is disappointed about the election result, she says there's still good work to be done in opposition.
"We're in an interesting situation here where [the Coalition] did win. They did run a small target strategy so a lot of what they might do has not been tested with the electorate. It will be an important role in us standing up for our constituents," she says.
"I think it's about continuing to advocate for the issues that Canberrans raise, a lot of which were national issues too, like climate change. So we've got to keep up the fight on that.
"Where do I see Canberra in three years? I hoped to advocate for those things but it's obviously harder with the Liberal government, and you know Canberra will be a target for cuts."
A through-and-through local, Payne wants to be a strong advocate for the national capital, making sure Australians are proud of their capital city and want to come and visit.
"A lot of my friends at uni - when I was in Sydney doing politics - got these internships to come here for a semester to work with a politician or whatever. And they were all like, 'Oh my god, how are we going to survive?' Many of them came and loved it here and then joined the grad program and wanted to move here.
"I think it's really about getting people to come here to see what a wonderful place we have to offer," she says.