Scott Morrison says he is the underdog going into the federal election campaign, as he targeted a negative truth campaign against Labor.
Scott Morrison believes he is the underdog going into the May federal election and the opinion polls back him up.
Monday's Newspoll put the coalition behind Labor 52 per cent to 48 on a two-party preferred basis, while an Ipsos poll had the coalition down 53-47.
The prime minister predicted voters would have "a bit more to say" about Labor in coming weeks, as they looked more closely at the opposition's policies.
"We've been the underdog in this campaign right from the outset," Mr Morrison told reporters during a factory visit on the Gold Coast.
"Bill Shorten, he has already measured up the curtains (for The Lodge) and for all I know he has probably gone out and bought the curtains, but my suggestion is he should keep the receipt."
Labor leader Mr Shorten said he was fighting a positive election campaign based on people's priorities.
"The most important things in politics are not the day-to-day noise, not some of the attack-dog stuff, what annoys people about politics," he told reporters in Brisbane.
"What Australian politics should be about is about your family, and your health."
Earlier, the prime minister promised a negative campaign against his opponents once the election is called.
"It's not a fear campaign, it's a truth campaign," he told 2GB radio.
Mr Morrison pointed to the last time Australia had a recession, under Labor 30 years ago.
"I never want to see an Australian to have to face that ever again, ever," he said.
"One-of-two Australians who are voting at this election will never have lived through a recession during their working life."
The Newspoll showed the race is tightening, with the coalition closing the gap from 54-46 to 52-48 after last week's federal budget.
There was speculation Mr Morrison would call the election on the weekend for a May 11 poll, but instead the election will now be on May 18 at the earliest.
Labor accused the government of pushing back the election date so the cash-strapped coalition can exploit an extra week of taxpayer-funded ads.
The coalition is spending more than $600,000 a day spruiking its policies.
"It's a dodgy ad man using taxpayers' funds to lie to taxpayers about what the government's doing," Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said thegovernment would continue to promote online safety for children, defence recruitment, incentives to employ apprentices and reducing electricity bills.
"Just because there is an election around the corner doesn't mean that we now all of a sudden all have to go into conspiracy theories," he told a Senate hearing.