Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard has joined Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on the last day of the federal election campaign, sharing a coffee together in Adelaide.
It was a rare campaign appearance for Ms Gillard, and her first in this election campaign, as she joined Mr Albanese in the Liberal-held seat of Stuart on Friday morning.
Over coffee – a piccolo for Mr Albanese, a long black for Ms Gillard – she was asked if she had any tips for the Labor leader’s final day on the election trail.
“Honestly he’s campaigning magnificently so he doesn’t need my advice,” she said.
According to the latest Ipsos poll, Labor is ahead of the Coalition 53 per cent to 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. But the effect of strong campaigns run by teal independents in many key seats remains unknown.
With that, Ms Gillard – who was PM during Australia’s last minority government – was pressed on whether she had any pointers for navigating a potential parliament without a clear majority. But she said Mr Albanese, her former cabinet colleague, needed no advice.
South Australian Senator Don Farrell (coffee order not revealed) said there would be no need for a minority government.
Mr Albanese said his focus remained on forming government outright.
“Our objective is 76 [seats],” he said.
The Adelaide coffee shop was the first stop of a three-state campaign blitz by Mr Albanese, who is hitting the ground running before polling begins on Saturday.
Several Liberal volunteers attempted to gatecrash the event with anti-Albanese signs, but were ejected as they tried to enter the cafe.
Mr Albanese joked about having to pace himself with coffee – his Friday morning piccolo was already his third of the day.
Mr Albanese and Ms Gillard reminisced about their first meeting, debating the exact date but landing on 1982 when the former prime minister was 21 and Mr Albanese was 18.
They discussed how even then education equality was a key shared interest, and Mr Albanese revealed he knew no one from his school who had also gone on to university with him.
Asked if she would continue campaigning, Ms Gillard said she would be at Mr Albanese’s next Adelaide event and confirmed she had already voted.
“I did a postal vote … and I was proud to vote Labor,” she said.
She did indeed join Mr Albanese – and South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas – at his next engagement. All three were mobbed by students at a school in the neighbouring Adelaide electorate of Boothby.
But during the convivial gathering at the coffee shop, they were also joined by Labor frontbencher Mark Butler (coffee order also not revealed) who brought his three-and-half-month old son Charlie along. Mr Albanese held Charlie for some time while the group discussed the “baby boom” in parliament in the last term.
Labor MP Marielle Smith (a latte) joked Labor was setting up to ensure a strong contingent of supporters in 18 years – leading Mr Albanese to joke that would be just in time for its seventh consecutive term in government.
The group discussed Labor frontbencher Amanda Rishworth’s (also a latte) penchant for wobble boarding, after she said she had spent the morning doing so before meeting Mr Albanese.
Mr Albanese’s partner Jodie Haydon (another piccolo) revealed her father had also been wobble boarding this campaign.
The convivial group also discussed how Ms Gillard seemed to have kicked off the cavoodle trend. When she was PM, Ms Gillard’s then partner, Tim Mathieson, gave her a red cavoodle puppy – who was quickly dubbed Reuben – for a birthday present.
These days, the pooches are popular with many politicians, including Mr Albanese – and he proudly showed off a happy snap of his dog Toto.
More seriously, the Labor contingent also discussed how the Coalition had ended a lot of youth programs the ALP had established, and was keen to reinstate if elected on Saturday.
Later in the day, Mr Albanese will head to marginal electorates in Tasmania and Melbourne, before Australians cast their ballots on Saturday.
He told told ABC radio on Friday he would be campaigning until 6pm on Saturday, adding if he won he would lead the most experienced Labor government since federation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison began Friday in Western Australia.