Outgoing senator Arthur Sinodinos says Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a "great persuader" and should be able to get big things done for Australia.
Arthur Sinodinos leaves Canberra after four decades of dispensing advice to Liberal politicians, from newcomers to the most senior.
But the senator and prime ministerial confidant was not afraid to seek advice himself before moving on to the next stage of his career, as Australia's ambassador to the United States.
After the May election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered Sinodinos a choice of another ministry or heading to Washington to take over from Joe Hockey.
"I had been offered it once before in 2005 so I thought this time I'd better take it, it may not be offered again," the senator tells AAP, laughing.
A bout of cancer in 2017 that got him thinking about how life isn't infinite, the chance for an adventure with his family, and the state of the government also helped him make the decision to leave.
"The prime minister's providing strong leadership, the ship of state seems relatively stable, the troops seem to me to be pretty happy, so I think this is a good time to go," he says.
Sinodinos studied economics to learn how the world works and joined Treasury to apply those lessons, before moving to John Howard's office in the 1980s.
He went back and forth between parliament and the public service as Howard's career rose and fell, but settled back on Capital Hill in 1995 and stayed on as the prime minister's chief of staff until 2006 - "It turned out to be a bit longer than I thought!"
He joined the Senate in 2011, replacing Helen Coonan as a representative of NSW.
"It was quite a privilege to serve on the frontline and have the capacity to be an advocate and not just advise other people," he said.
From the advice he's had from Hockey and long-time close friend Stephen Brady, a former ambassador to France, diplomatic work is not all that different, still involving prosecuting a case but on behalf of the whole country rather than just the government.
He won't be drawn on what it might be like dealing with the erratic Trump administration, noting only that the presidential elections will make 2020 an interesting year.
"It's an opportunity to observe the biggest show on earth from very close."
In an age of talking points and a ravenous media cycle, Sinodinos often stands out as a source of considered thinking and a straight talker.
That's a pattern he encourages those still in parliament or aspiring to be to follow.
"We have to stick to prosecuting the government's case, but I think it's good for people to be able to do it in their own way and with their own language because I think that resonates better with the public," he says - noting one still has to be careful to work within the lines of party policy.
He advises new politicians to pick a couple of issues and not be afraid to run with them.
"Think big about what they want to do, not just about what positions they want to have but what is it they want to achieve and why are they here."
And he encourages people to be confident - without being arrogant - in their capacity to do things.
But he cautions that it takes persistent work to get those big things done.
One of the career achievements he's proud of is helping negotiate the tax reforms of the 1990s through parliament, but that was a long slog.
"It took us four years from when they were formulated to when they were implemented to when they were ticked off at a subsequent election to get them to stick," he says.
But he thinks Morrison, "a very good persuader", will be able to do similar.
"He's someone who can certainly throw himself into advocacy for big things and I think the nation benefits from that."
Politicians need to make sure they are listening to people not just telling them what they should or shouldn't do, particularly as faith in politics appears to be declining.
"When it comes to ideology, to remember that not everybody shares our own particular ideology so we've got to be careful about not appearing to be shoving ideas down people's throats just because we think that's what's best for them.
"We've got to be more humble about the process."
As for the end of his era in Canberra, Sinodinos says he will miss people - but not the Senate's morass of parliamentary procedure.
"I've been used to being around this place. It's a big part of the furniture of my mind."