WHEN Joe Hockey took morning tea with seven Charles Sturt University students yesterday, he told them to imagine it was an episode of ABC program Q and A.
He briefly outlined a political career that started with a visit to a council meeting seeking a new cricket pitch.
He said a year into an arts degree at the University of Sydney he transferred to arts-law and got involved in student politics.
“I didn’t really like the Young Liberals,” he said.
“I formed my own political party based on the consumption of alcohol, was elected president of the SRC and had a great year,” he said.
SCROLL DOWN: For Joe Hockey's full press conference
Before he finished his degree, he received a phone call from then deputy prime minister Lionel Bowen, asking him to join the Labor Party.
He thought about what the Labor and Liberal parties stood for and decided to join the Liberals.
Mr Hockey was asked how he coped with extremes that took him from refugee camps to Buckingham Palace.
“I think about what could be done constantly; it can be frustrating, but then it’s not just about expecting a response from Canberra, the state parliament or local government,” he said.
The students told Mr Hockey of their expectations for careers that would make a difference in information technology, marketing, teaching, management and business.
He encouraged them to “dream big” for the several careers in their working lives.
“Be as ambitious as you can because you get only one chance at this,” he said.
Describing politics as “showbusiness for ugly people”, Mr Hockey said the “soft” interview could often be more disarming than those by hard-hitters such as Kerry O’Brien.
He said he had just finished recording an episode of Kitchen Cabinet with the ABC’s Annabel Crabb, describing it as “an absolute disaster”.
“I can’t cook and it was a three-hour grilling about me. I’d much prefer talking about fiscal management than me,” he said.
In a hard-hitting press conference at CSU, Joe Hockey described Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a "lame duck".
Click play for Mr Hockey's full press conference at Charles Sturt University.
In today's Border Mail, read Di Thomas's exclusive Q&A with Joe Hockey