PM Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Source: AAP
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will present a united Australian front to honour and farewell Nelson Mandela.
The pair will this week fly to Johannesburg to join world leaders past and present, mourning the former South African president who died at his home on Thursday (local time) aged 95.
A huge memorial service is planned for the nation's first black leader on Tuesday, with US President Barack Obama already confirming his attendance.
On Saturday Mr Shorten's office said the Labor leader had accepted an invitation from Mr Abbott to accompany the prime minister to South Africa. Both men will miss most of the final 2013 parliamentary sitting week.
It is unknown how long the men will be out of Australia.
"There is a long bipartisan history of Australian support for South Africa and the campaign to abolish apartheid," Mr Abbott said, announcing his intention to attend the service.
After facing criticism for not lowering flags at the news of Mr Mandela's death, Mr Abbott said Australian flags will be set at half mast on the day of the official memorial.