Just over a week out from polling day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made a critical concession to his unpopularity with voters, admitting he is seen as a "bit of a bulldozer" and promising to change the way he governs if he is elected.
But the Labor leader Anthony Albanese is positioning himself as a "builder" and declared, if elected as Prime Minister on May 21, he will "build things in this country".
The Coalition is behind in the polls while the Prime Minister is widely regarded as losing the last leaders' debate to Labor leader Anthony Albanese. The Canberra Times understands there is also unfavourable Liberal party polling circulating for the Morrison government.
While campaigning on his birthday in the marginal Melbourne seat of Chisholm, Mr Morrison blamed the COVID pandemic for appearing too strong.
"Over the last three years, and particularly the last two, what Australians have needed from me going through this pandemic has been strength and resilience," he said.
"Now, I admit that hasn't enabled Australians to see a lot of other gears in the way I work.
"And I know Australians know that I can be a bit of a bulldozer when it comes to issues and I suspect you guys know that too."
Such a concession takes on numerous unfavourable character assessments of the Prime Minister, including that is a bully and clearly addresses the view that he is now toxic, particularly in marginal inner city seats.
Mr Morrison explicitly offered to change, if elected.
"As we go into this next period on the other side of this election, I know there are things that are going to have to change with the way I do things," he said.
"Because we are moving into a different time. We are moving into a time of opportunity and working from the strong platform of strength that we've built and saved in our economy in the last three years we can now take advantage of those opportunities in the future."
Mr Albanese immediately saw an opportunity, slamming the Prime Minister as a "wrecker" and claimed the mantle of "builder".
"Well, Scott Morrison has today said he's a bulldozer. That is, a bulldozer wrecks things. A bulldozer knocks things over. I'm a builder, that's what I am," he said in far north Queensland.
He pledged to improve Australia's infrastructure, climate change response and cost of living situation.
"If I'm elected Prime Minister, I'll build things in this country," he said.
"I find it quite extraordinary - that this government have been there for almost a decade, this Prime Minister has four years in office. And what he's saying is 'if you vote for Scott Morrison, I'll change'. That's what he's saying: 'Vote for me, and I'll change'. Well, if you want change, change the government. Change the government."
Mr Albanese was visiting Fitzroy Island pitching more money for the Great Barrier Reef to combat the effects of climate change and water pollution.