Scott Morrison is poised to fire the starting gun on the federal election, casting himself as a safe pair of hands in uncertain times.
The prime minister is widely expected to ask Governor-General David Hurley on Sunday to dissolve the parliament and set either May 14 or May 21 as the date for an election.
Ahead of the visit to Government House in Canberra, Mr Morrison released a video in which he points to the natural disasters that have hit the country, the unstable global security environment and the risks facing Australia's economy.
"You always have setbacks. You always have imperfect information. I mean, things are tough," he says.
Mr Morrison claims 40,000 Australians are alive because of how his government handled the COVID-10 pandemic, with 700,000 still in jobs because of the response to the economic fallout.
"This is why as we go into this next election, what's firing me up - we're actually in a really strong position," Mr Morrison says.
He recalls a senior-year trade school he visited in Brisbane where half the class indicated they wanted to start their own business.
"How good's that? That's why I love Australia," Mr Morrison says.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese also released a video on Saturday spruiking his "fully costed plan for a better future".
He introduces himself to voters and talks about his economics degree from Sydney University and six years as infrastructure minister.
"Growing up with a single mum, I know the value of a dollar, and I know how hard it is to get ahead, " Mr Albanese says.
Homing in on a perceived weakness of the prime minister, following criticism of his handing of natural disasters, Mr Albanese says: "Australians deserve a prime minister who shows up, who takes responsibility."
Mr Albanese earlier told reporters Labor had a "mountain to climb" to win the election.
Labor has only won government from opposition three times since World War II.
Opinion polls are pointing to a Labor victory, but the coalition starts ahead with 76 seats out of the 151-seat lower house.
Labor starts the race with 68 seats, but notionally holds 69 if the new seat of Hawke in Victoria is considered a win.
The retirement of at least 17 MPs will make the contest even more challenging for both sides.
Forty seats in the upper house are in contention in a half-Senate election.
A victory for Mr Morrison would make him the first incumbent prime minister to win two elections in a row since John Howard in 2004.
Australian Associated Press
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