Not since the attempted assassination of Arthur Calwell in 1966 has such a striking example emerged of a Labor Opposition Leader forced to temporarily withdraw and leave the pre-election battleground open to a rival.
While the 1966 election had not been officially called, the pseudo-campaign - much like Australians had experienced over the past few months - was well underway.
Calwell was leaving Mosman Town Hall in Sydney after giving an address to a rowdy anti-conscription rally - a massive issue at the time, with the Vietnam War underway - and was sitting in the passenger's seat of his Commonwealth car outside when a 19-year-old factory worker fired a .22 calibre rifle round through the side window.
The shot from point-blank range missed, with the Labor leader suffering multiple glass cuts and minor wounds. Unbelievably, the spent bullet was found trapped within the left lapel of his coat.
Unbelievably, the spent bullet was found trapped within the left lapel of his coat.
As the presiding judge told a packed courtroom later: "it seems that only by the intervention of Providence that he [Calwell] is still alive".
Concerned that his wife should know he had survived - these were the days long before cell phones - Calwell climbed out of the glass-strewn car and re-entered the hall to find a phone to call her. Only then did he allow himself to be ferried off to hospital.
Calwell was off the hustings only a few days; the present Labor leader Anthony Albanese will be quarantined for a week after testing positive on Thursday for COVID-19.
How this vacancy during an intense six-week election campaign will play out for Albanese and Labor's chances of upsetting the incumbent government will be the subject of significant commentary and analysis. It's a near-unprecedented hiatus, with Calwell's short repose the most notable recent refence point.
After a drawn-out campaign, Labor lost that election - quite badly, as it transpired - to the Liberal-Country Coalition led by former treasurer Harold Holt.
Calwell retired after the loss and passed the baton to the emerging Gough Whitlam. Holt, quite famously, went swimming and went missing.
Albanese has the advantage of being able to hand his baton - albeit temporarily, as he still intends to conduct meetings via Zoom, health permitting - to some highly competent Ministers-in-waiting in the likes of Jim Chalmers, Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong.
Friday's opening salvo from Labor post-Albo COVID quarantine came from frontbencher Jason Clare, who parried with the media in affable terms and thrust the sword into the Morrison government in a convincing and polished manner.
The big issue for Albanese's absence from the campaign trail is that it further feeds into the government-fostered narrative that the Australian people don't know who he is.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morrison will continue to campaign on constancy and his recognition. It's a proven and successful path for an incumbent government.
However, what may flip in Labor's multi-faceted favour is this development may force a shift away from US-style personality politics and put the focus back on the key issues.
Jason Clare's accomplished dissection on day one of his leader's absence provided a strong lead but Mr Morrison will leverage any "who's the next spokesperson?" uncertainty.
"It's a choice between a government you do know - not perfect, and not without its criticisms made of it - or an opposition from Labor Party who you don't know," he told the ABC on Friday. Expect much more of this rhetoric to follow in the weeks ahead.
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