If, as both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are claiming, the 2019 Federal election is to be fought on perceptions of trust and fairness, then both leaders have given themselves very hard rows to hoe.
Shorten, despite being the longest serving parliamentary Labor leader of the 21st century, has consistently failed to cut through with voters. Numerous polls have indicated he does not inspire trust or confidence.
This is, in large part, a reflection of the less than glorious role he played in the sacking of both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard at a time when the ALP was riven by the type of internal division we now associate with the Liberals.
Shorten is also defending a number of potentially vote-denying policies; the rolling back of negative gearing, and the abolition of franking credits for self funded retirees.
Labor has yet to demonstrate it can explain long term consequences of these policies which, if they are elected, could be rolled out quickly.
Shorten, his shadow cabinet, and ALP candidates have a lot of work to get through in the next 37 days.
That said, the greatest challenge by far is the one that faces Scott Morrison.
His government's conduct in spending $600,000 a day on electoral advertising in what should have been the caretaker period, and its 11th hour decision to approve Adani's groundwater management plans, has been little short of reprehensible.
Morrison's latest mantra is: "I believe in a fair go for those who have a go... what that means is, part of the promise that we all keep as Australians is that we make a contribution and don't seek to take one. When all Australians do that, that's when we get the fair go mentality".
This attempt to ring fence a great Australian tradition within the narrow confines is in stark contrast to Shorten's simple assertion: "Labor: a fair go for Australia".
This type of rhetoric, fleshed out by the PM's call for all Australians to "bring your best" to the table, invests the government with the power to decide who is and who is not having a go.
Morrison ignores the fact that different people contribute in a wide range of ways.
For some, who struggling with challenges others can't even imagine, making it through the day is an achievement.
Once we limit the "fair go" to those deemed to be deserving it is no longer a universal principle, and by definition, no longer a fair go.
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