Michael McCormack has chalked up the first anniversary of his election as leader of The Nationals in a fairly understated manner.
He was in Wodonga on Tuesday for the opening of Senator Bridget McKenzie's new office and talks with business people, before he headed to Sydney for a cabinet meeting.
But he has reflected a little on the year since the resignation of scandal-plagued Barnaby Joyce made him Deputy Prime Minister.
"It’s a great privilege to hold this position. Some days, yes I have to pinch myself to realise I am in this very honoured position to be able to help regional Australia," he told The Daily Advertiser.
In 2011, only a year or so after being elected as the Member for Riverina, Mr McCormack took advantage of a chance encounter with then-federal health minister Nicola Roxon at Brisbane airport to press for a new Wagga Base Hospital.
Perhaps not unsurprisingly then, one of the highlights he nominates from past year is the creation of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network, which will have one of its bases in Wagga.
"Making that dream a reality was something that was always one of my top wish list items," he said.
"I went into Parliament in 2010. I fought hard to get funding for a new Wagga Base Hospital, and when that was ticked off, I looked towards getting more doctors for the bush. I believe the way to get more doctors for the bush is to train them in country areas from end to end, so they do the start of their training and they do the end of their training - almost all of their training - in regional areas."
Mr McCormack - who has acted as Prime Minister about 10 times is the past year - also names securing millions in additional funding for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund as a highlight.
"Water is our most valuable resource in this nation and to be able to store more of it - both drought-proofing and for flood mitigation - was something I felt needed to be done," he said.
"I suppose, too, there's getting the first Nationals’ presence in Tasmania, negotiating that with Senator Steve Martin. The Nationals had not been in Tasmania since the 1920s and under my leadership, Senator Steve Martin is now there and doing a great job."
The nomination of Carl Cooper,a former Wagga pharmacist, for the seat of Bass is also on the list of debut-year successes.
The Riverina electorate sprawls from "just south of Yerong Creek to just south of Dubbo", so Mr McCormack is constantly faced with the challenge of representing the electorate while juggling one of the largest portfolios in government and leading the party.
"You just work hard, You literally don’t have a day off. You literally just work every day, almost every hour of every day. You just do a lot of travel," he said.
Wife Catherine sometimes accompanies her husband and it was a trip to Queensland to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence that provided some light moments.
"The day we flew to Cairns to meet Mike Pence - Catherine was obviously meeting Karen, the US Second Lady - was a bit amusing because we flew there in a little six-seater. They arrived in two 757s with their 38-car motorcade," Mr McCormack said
"That was probably a bit of a funny moment, the fact that we had to virtually get changed in a toilet block at the Cairns airport, whereas he has landed in his 757, with another 757 behind."
You just work hard, You literally don’t have a day off. You literally just work every day, almost every hour of every day. You just do a lot of travel.Michael McCormack
Acknowledging he was elected after scandal forced out Mr Joyce, Mr McCormack pointed to the long history of the party.
"Yes, there’s been ups and downs in those hundred years, let alone in the past 12 months," he said.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey has known Mr McCormack since the days both were both newspaper editors in the city, and recalls the time in 2000 that the pair were invited to Admiralty House to meet the Queen and were mistaken for ASIO officers by passers-by as they stood waiting outside and dressed in their dark suits.
"He is very passionate about this community, and I share that passion," Councillor Conkey said.
"He hasn’t changed since becoming Deputy Prime Minister. We have a close working relationship and is only a phone call away."
With an election looming, it seems likely Mr McCormack will retain his Riverina seat, but whether The Nationals' leader will still be Deputy Prime Minister is a different prospect, according to a political expert.
Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan from CSU said The Nationals' chances could be dimmed by a "presidential-style" Liberals campaign and overall Coalition victory was 'unlikely'.
Professor O'Sullivan also believes the "sugar babe" scandal around Nationals MP Andrew Broad could have damaged Mr McCormack.
In December, Mr Broad quit Parliament after it was revealed he had dinner in Hong Kong with a woman he met on a website.
Mr McCormack's handling of the scandal was criticised and there was intense media speculation about a possible leadership challenge.
Perhaps The Nationals need a stronger campaigner, but then Barnaby Joyce was a strong campaigner and that ultimately didn't help him.Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan
However, Mr McCormack rode out the criticism.
While The Nationals got through that scandal, Associate Professor O'Sullivan does not see the party and their Coalition partners retaining government after an election, which is due mid-year.
"Perhaps The Nationals need a stronger campaigner, but then Barnaby Joyce was a strong campaigner and that ultimately didn't help him," he said.
"Mr McCormack is obviously very focused and very hard-working and devoted, but he is the leader of a minor party and ultimately, these parties could be in a bit of trouble."
However, Mr McCormack said he had a good working relationship with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and refuses to write off the Coalition's chances of being returned to government, despite polls suggesting Labor is headed for a decisive victory.
"Some of the pundits have written us off. They may well be mistaken. I think you’ll see the polls start to tighten up as we head to the election," he said.