Right on cue. At 9 o'clock prompt, Anthony Albanese prepared to address, if not quite the nation, then the pack of Australia's finest, the Terriers for Truth.
As the man who would be prime minister opened his mouth, ready to pronounce his wisdom, silence fell - and the school bell tolled - nine times, as it would at that time, and presumably had done every day of the former pupil's school life.
He might have known - perhaps, secretly, he did know. It was a great cue for a gag. With the slickness of a Hollywood script, he waited for the last mournful toll to die away and said (not mournfully): "The bell is tolling for the Morrison government."
The laughter eased the tension. The Terriers took their eyes off the prey. Mr Albanese seemed confident. He thanked his old economics teacher (a not-so-subtle assertion that he knows about economics - including, presumably by now, the rate of unemployment and the Reserve Bank cash rate).
If he was fazed by the gaffes and trips which have dogged him from day one, he seemed comfortable on home turf which, of course, he was. His successors, in their adolescent enthusiasm, mobbed him like a pop star. Their cheers echoed around the courtyard. The lads playing hoops stopped. They stood on the balconies looking down as the Terriers tried their best to get in a bite.
In truth, the massed journos weren't quite at their nippiest. There were no gotcha questions - no barked insistence that he recite his 13-times table or name the winner of the Melbourne Cup of 1923 (and the runners-up, if you please).
And he was on home turf in the sense that education was his chosen theme, and that is Labor territory. He promised 5000 bursaries for trainee teachers if high-flyers chose to fly to the classroom.
The pack were tame. In a reprise of the debate the night before, they asked him if he could guarantee - guarantee - that wages would rise faster than prices. He batted that one away easily enough. Because the truth is that he can't promise that. Nobody can. We have no idea where inflation is headed. Not even someone who had learnt economics at school knows that.
But in the current pressure cooker election, "don't know" is not an answer (apart from for those in that band of voters who are polled, and who may yet determine Mr Albanese's future).
It should be said that there was one nay-saying voice among the cheers. Jorgen Missiakos will turn 18 ten days after the election. If he could vote, he wouldn't vote for Mr A. "It's good to have him here, but I don't support his side of politics," he said.
"I've just grown up in a family where people vote for the Coalition."
Mr Albanese shouldn't measure up The Lodge for curtains quite yet. Favourable polls and an at-worst competent debate did seem to have put a spring in his step as he departed from his old stomping ground, the Terriers at his heels. Their teeth remain sharp. He's not there yet.
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