Pacific nations should expect more than just publicised visits from the freshly-elected Albanese government, with the new minister promising to be a "breath of fresh air" for Australia's closest neighbours.
It comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has made two visits to the region in her first three weeks as minister, promising "no strings attached" engagement and a suite of fresh policies.
The trips coincided with a blitz tour of the island nations by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in early June, following a security deal between the Solomon Islands and China.
Pat Conroy, a factional lieutenant for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after being first elected in 2013, will join the ministry as Pacific Minister, playing a critical support role for Senator Wong in restoring Australia as the partner of choice for Pacific nations.
After nine "soul-destroying" years in opposition, the 43-year-old Member for Shortland, said he's eager to get into the "nitty gritty" details and achieve some of the "high goals" set by his bosses.
One of those goals is implementing a permanent migration pathway for up to 3000 Pacific Islanders each year determined by a lottery system.
Mr Conroy said it was important Senator Wong made early visits to Pacific neighbours, but he conceded well-publicised trips aren't enough.
"Visits alone won't return us to be a partner of choice," he said.
"It's implementing our policies across all government, not just increasing our overseas development assistance [but] our really revolutionary changes to temporary and permanent migration [and] our investments in cultural and sporting affinity.
A security deal between the Solomons and China was revealed in April, a fortnight into the 2022 election.
Concerns quickly spread that the deal could lead to a Chinese military base being established on the island just 2000 kilometres from Australia's shores.
The then-Coalition government sent junior minister, Zed Seselja, to its capital Honiara but the former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne wasn't part of the delegation.
Mr Conroy pointed to the 2018 Boe Declaration the former government signed, which acknowledged climate change as the number one existential threat to the Pacific, including Australia.
But it was never backed up by any action, he added.
"One of my criticisms of Marise Payne was that she was more interested in Paris than the Pacific," Mr Conroy said.
"The fact that she didn't travel the Solomon Islands, the fact that she didn't even make any phone calls when that all was developing, was a disgrace.
"They'll see a very different course of action from us."
The junior minister's other portfolio is no walk in the park either.
With the signing of the AUKUS deal last September, and a number of long-term procurement projects underway, leading policy for defence industry will require aligning many moving parts.
His first task is to create a robust Australian industry that doesn't live or die by the contract cycles.
"It's about [the government] using the very significant spend to develop Australian excellence in key capabilities that not just support the ADF but [can also] export where it is appropriate," he said.
Former defence minister Christopher Pyne made his ambition of growing the local defence industry into one of the world's leaders no secret.
But Mr Conroy said the focus should be on the quality of that industry, not the size of it.
"It's a laudable goal and given the level of defence expenditure we're committing to, we should maximise local content but it's got to be about capability," he said.
"It's something that we can have for a long, long time."
The former government was criticised over its decision to boost the sovereign defence industry at any cost, including approving the sales of armaments by local companies to overseas regimes accused of human rights abuses.
The Defence Industry Minister said he was still receiving briefings from agencies on day nine in the job but said Labor would have a "close look" at this.
"It's very important that our national reputation is always preserved," he said.
"We start from a position of ethics and a strong moral compass and to acknowledge that ... we basically legitimise it by giving a defence export license to it, so we have to be very confident about what we're doing."
It's early days for the new minister but he's proud to reached this point and is adamant to not let anyone down.
He recalled meeting the then-assistant secretary of the NSW Labor Party as a 15-year-old from the Central Coast in the mid-1990s.
He wouldn't know it then, but nearly three decades later, that man would become Australia's 31st prime minister, choosing Mr Conroy to join him on the government's frontbench.
For the next few years, provided there are no major reshuffles, he'll continue that job supporting his party's plans to implement the policies.
"It was only when I was sitting through my first defence briefing and thinking, 'I'm a minister. The person they're calling minister is me'," Mr Conroy said.
"It's hugely exciting to really get to grips with some of the key issues facing this country."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.