Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Perth to headlines about a poll that found locals didn't like or trust him but he shrugged that off to deliver an inspiring message to high school students.
While there he announced a $46.7 million funding package to support indigenous students, as part of the Gonski education reforms.
He embraced the chance to have a break from discussing terrorism and politics and talk to students candidly about his background, leadership and living a successful and fulfilling life.
The prime minister was asked by a student from Swan View Senior High School what qualities were needed to be a good leader.
"The most important thing you need firstly is to believe in yourself. It is a question of character and conviction," he said.
"Believe and understand who you are, what you stand for. Be courageous and prepared to stand up for what you believe in and be able to communicate that to others and to do so honestly."
"Recognise that you can do anything. Set your mind to do it. Go about it in a hard, industrious determined manner. Don't be riven with self doubt."
He was standing in front of a set where the school had been performing Lord of the Flies, which Mr Turnbull described as a classic story with key messages about sticking to your character under pressure.
He said drama and public speaking as a student helped develop his communications skills.
Mr Turnbull said his government was trying to ensure young Australians had the opportunity to realise their ambitions more abundantly than past generations.
Western Australia's best assets "are you", not the iron ore, gas and other resources, he told the children.
"This is a very enterprising state, with people who believe in themselves and are prepared to have a go," he said, adding there was no shame in sometimes failing.
The critical thing was "learning never stopped" and to have the skills that would ensure you had the flexibility to take advantage of the career opportunities that came along in life, he said.
That included quantitative skills, maths and science.
Mr Turnbull sought out one student to say hello and shake his hand, because he had met the boy's father earlier that day and told him "your father is very proud of you".
The boy looked genuinely chuffed and his mate ribbed him saying "you won't wash your hand now".
Whatever happens at the next election, the prime minister won over some young supporters who won't forget the day he dropped into their school.