Election date looks set

Speculation is mounting Julia Gillard is planning a visit to Governor-General Quentin Bryce on Saturday morning.

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Rumours Ms Gillard is going to call the long-anticipated poll have taken on a life of their own on Friday.

Ms Gillard is heading to Melbourne on Friday afternoon after her first visit to Tasmania.

She is due to head to Brisbane on Saturday — but her office noted that could be subject to change.

If she calls the poll on Saturday, there are suggestions the issuing of writs may be delayed until mid next week, having the election on August 28.

The minimum length of a campaign after the issuing of writs is 33 days.

Abbott calls for explanation

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Julia Gillard must explain her role on the night Kevin Rudd was “executed” by the union and factional heavies.

The question at the National Press Club, asked by Nine Network political chief Laurie Oakes put it to the prime minister that on the night before the leadership change, Mr Rudd had made the offer to Ms Gillard.

As she did on the day she took over the leadership, Ms Gillard refused to elaborate on the contents of their meeting, citing confidentiality.

“I’ve made it very, very clear that I will never be speaking publicly about my discussions with Kevin Rudd on that night,” she said.

Tony Abbott told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday voters deserved a proper explanation.

“I think plainly, the prime minister has some explaining to do about what her exact role in the events of that night were,” he said.

“He was a prime minister elected by the people and he deserved to face the judgment of the people.

“He didn’t deserve to be executed in the dead of the night by the union and factional heavies.

“The extraordinary thing to this day is that so many of members of the former cabinet were completely unaware they were going to be frogmarched into that caucus room the next morning and directed to depose their prime minister.”

Keating attacks Hawke

Mr Abbott was asked about the stoush between former Labor prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke following the launch of a biography by Mr Hawke’s wife which Mr Keating charges is an attempt at re-writing history.

The book, by Blanche d’Alpuget, suggests Mr Keating had tried to ride on the coat-tails of Mr Hawke and a number of landmark reforms introduced during his time in office.

Mr Keating has since slammed the book, writing in a letter to Mr Hawke that he “carried” him through four years of “emotional and intellectual malaise” in the 1980s.

Mr Abbott praised Mr Hawke and Mr Keating as reformists and said Ms Gillard’s record of achievements looked very thin in comparison.

Mr Abbott was asked if he was thankful there was no animosity between him and his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.

“I certainly believe we have a good team and whatever disagreements Malcolm and I had over the emissions trading scheme was never personal, I respected Malcolm then and I respect him today,” he said.

“We were friends then and we were friends today.”