In 2008, Lockwood Smith took on the ultimate political refereeing job when he was appointed as Parliament's Speaker.
In his first three years, the veteran MP was credited for cutting down the amount of bad behaviour in Parliament, and instructing ministers to give serious answers to serious questions.
However, he quickly learned that the Speaker's role stretched beyond being merely an adjudicator in the House, and he now describes the job as "the landlord of Parliament".
The general perception of the Speaker tends to be a view of him seated at the front of Parliament, ensuring MPs toe the line and laying down the law when they do not.
But the Speaker has a number of other responsibilities outside the House, including overseeing Parliamentary Services, and the offices of the Auditor-General, the Ombudsmen, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
"Of the Speaker's broader role, I wouldn't claim I knew a lot of the detail at all," Dr Smith said.
"The Speaker is legally the landlord here. The Parliamentary Corporation is the legal entity that owns all the property, and the Speaker is the chair of the Parliamentary Corporation, so for changes to any of the lease arrangements I have to sign documents like that."
As chairman of Parliament's business committee, the Speaker also plays a great part in establishing what business goes before the House and the time allocated to different issues.
Having been in Parliament since 1984, Dr Smith said, he had absorbed a reasonable amount of knowledge of the standing orders - the rules - that govern Parliament, although he had sharpened up considerably since becoming the enforcer of them.
He offered reassurance that he did not go to bed at night with the standing orders next to him, but his well-highlighted copy of the rule book suggests he certainly does his homework.
When questioned about whether he held the monopoly for standing order knowledge, Dr Smith was quick to hand credit to the Clerk of the House, Mary Harris.
"I don't pretend to always have it right, it's important to be prepared to acknowledge when you make a mistake," he said.
"If I'm not sure I refer to the clerk, and Mary is very good on these - she'd beat me on Mastermind."
Ironic, given Dr Smith's TV game show background, which he also cites as an advantage for the Speaker's job.
Before entering Parliament, Dr Smith was known to audiences as the host of It's Academic, a children's TV quiz show.
"When we were into the really fast part of the show, the poor old adjudicator would be about two questions behind, and I just had to make instant decisions so I got very used to pace."
The same sort of principles applied to his job in Parliament, and Dr Smith said he often saw similarities from his time in television.
While his long experience as an MP had also been an advantage on some levels, Dr Smith said it had initially sparked questions about whether he could be impartial having previously been heavily involved in policy work.
"You've got to be non-partisan, and you've got to be seen to be non-partisan. You've got to treat all members of the House of Representatives equally regardless of whether they're from your party or the opposition," he said.
"If you're going to be Speaker you've got no choice. And I simply removed myself from any [political] involvement. There was no halfway house."
Next week, Dr Smith will start another parliamentary year at the front of the chamber, but is unclear on how long he intends to remain in the seat, although he readily admits this is his last term in Parliament.
During the last election, Dr Smith became a list MP, rather than contesting the Rodney seat he had held since first coming into Parliament.
It is an open secret he will be appointed High Commissioner to London during the next term, and the move to the list prevents a byelection.
"I'm not sure how long I'll be Speaker, it certainly won't be beyond this term, that's for sure. You can be around too long," he said.
"I've had a great opportunity and I'm just trying to apply what I've learned in this place to the role of Speaker, and if I can improve the way the Parliament operates before I step aside, that's great."
COMFORTS OF HOME WHEN THE DOCTOR'S IN HOUSE
It's hardly the Palace of Westminster apartments the Speaker of Britain's House of Commons enjoys, but the Speaker's flat at Parliament is nothing to turn your nose up at.
While the flat's two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and cupboard laundry are simple and small, the lounge and adjoining dining room lend themselves to a little more grandeur, as do the high-ceilings and the view of Parliament's forecourt.
As well as an array of beautiful furniture, the lounge is home to a range of artwork, including a Colin McCahon painting of a koru of which Lockwood Smith is particularly fond.
No Speaker has actually lived in the flat since Jonathan Hunt, who was Speaker from 1999 to 2005.
The last Speaker, Margaret Wilson, opened up access to the flat for certain occasions, and Dr Smith extended that policy - frequently letting out the dining room for ministerial or official dinners.
The lounge is also well used by visitors, and in the past three years has been a base for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, United States' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Spanish king and queen during their visits.
Although it is not his residence, the flat is not without Dr Smith's touch, with the hallway displaying numerous photo-graphs of his own prizewinning cattle.