Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd keep it civil at the Lodge. Photo: Andrew Meares
Kevin Rudd once labelled Tony Abbott one of the Liberal Party's "most extreme right-wing conservative leaders". Abbott chided Rudd as a "flim-flam man" who never shut up.
But both were on their best behaviour on Thursday as they performed the ceremonial handover of the Prime Minister's official Canberra residence.
The vanquished Labor leader stood on the doorstep of The Lodge, wearing a red tie, to greet his successor, a man who described blue ties as part of some sort of conservative uniform.
They may have dutifully shaken hands and put on smiles for the cameras but Rudd and Abbott stumbled their way through some exceptionally awkward small talk.
"It's a ... you and Margie will find this a good place to make a home," Rudd, still caretaker prime minister, assured his replacement, yet to be sworn in.
"Well it's an honour to be here - an extraordinary honour, very few people obviously have that honour," Abbott replied, before trailing off, "and yeah; very interesting."
Rudd stuck to the family theme - usually a safe ice-breaker - by asking whether Abbott's three adult daughters would be living at The Lodge too.
"The short answer is yes," Abbott said, "because they don't want to leave home until such time as they get married."
Before Abbott had finished the sentence, Rudd chuckled. "I - I know that feeling."
They then turned their mind to The Lodge - a place that is about to undergo repairs and therefore is unlikely to house Abbott and wife Margie - or even their daughters - for at least a year. (Abbott may follow in the footsteps of John Howard and settle into Sydney's Kirribilli House.)
Rudd talked about the terrific gardens; Abbott made the somewhat obvious observation: "I've never really explored it." While Abbott had visited for the odd prime ministerial dinner or drinks function he not had much chance to mosey around, "but all in good time, as they say".
That, they decided, was enough small talk.
"Be good," Rudd urged the waiting media as he prepared to take Abbott inside for a 30-minute chat away from the cameras. "We're going to have a cup of tea."
And with that, they had to zip.