JOE Hockey's hero is a migrant who arrived in Australia in 1948, aged 21, and built a successful business from nothing.
The federal opposition Treasury spokesman describes his father, Richard, as the man he has learnt most from.
Mr Hockey's father was born in Bethlehem in the west bank region of Palestine. His surname was Hokeidonian.
Mr Hockey's grandfather was born in Aleppo in north-west Syria, 310 kilometres from Damascus.
It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and has been seriously damaged in recent times in Syria's internal conflict.
Mr Hockey said in Launceston yesterday that his father remained one of his most significant influences and agreed that his background and experience had contributed to the federal Liberal powerbroker's own ideas on Australia's refugee policies.
"My father is a great man - he's my idol," Mr Hockey said.
"His is a great migrant story of starting with nothing and working hard for success.
"He had to fight hard to get here and he has zero tolerance of people who jump the queue."
Mr Hockey said that his father, now 84, could understand the hunger to get to Australia of the people who came uninvited by boat.
"But often there are far more deserving people who are still sitting patiently in refugee camps waiting," he said. "That's why the best thing we can do in Australia is to stop the boats."
Mr Hockey, the youngest of four children, said that he was lucky to be the first in the family to get a private school education and the first to go to university, "because Dad's small business in North Sydney came good."
Despite learning about politics and life firsthand at home and despite his father belonging to the ALP until prime minister Gough Whitlam's controversial term, Mr Hockey has no sympathy for his Labor colleagues.
"The symbolism of their apology to indigenous Australians was important," he said, searching for positives.
"Their intentions are worthy - better education, health care, communications. But they are failing, their road map is upside down and the failure to deliver is too great a price to pay."
He said that enjoyed good relations with former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd.
"I was with him last night," Mr Hockey said. "But I'll be dammed if I let him become prime minister again - I've already made that mistake once."
A few weeks into one of the longest federal election campaigns on record, he refused to be drawn on whether Julia Gillard would still be the Labor leader whom the Liberals would need to beat at the polls.
"That's for Labor. It's still Labor and that's their problem. They've got structural problems."
He said that he had come to Launceston on what he expected to be the first of many trips to support Bass Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic.
"This is a hugely important seat and wherever Bass has gone the government has usually gone," he said.
Tasmania had always been a state "that economically can do so much better".
He said that "red tape and green tape" were what had gone wrong with the state.
"But the one that has had the biggest impact is the perception that you are closed for business," he said. "The whole pulp mill experience sent a terrible message to the rest of Australia.
"It goes back to when it stopped marketing itself as a great tourist destination - Tasmania to the rest of Australia looked stalled and then it started to actively disencourage investment. But the thing that has broken my heart down here has been the demise of manufacturing. Manufacturing is crucial."