Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australians will go to the polls on May 18, telling voters "now is not the time to turn back" to Labor.
Opinion polls are pointing to the Liberal-National coalition losing power to Labor leader Bill Shorten's team after six years in office.
But Mr Morrison said there was much at stake at the election and only the coalition could deliver a strong economy and the dividends of that.
"It's taken us more than five years to turn around Labor's budget mess," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
"Now is not the time to turn back. Keeping our economy strong is how we secure your future and your family's future."
Mr Shorten told reporters on his morning run in Melbourne he was prepared for the campaign ahead.
"I'm ready for the election, I'm ready for government," he said.
"I've got a more united, experienced team. This election will be a choice, it will be a choice about more cuts or better health care for your family."
Neither major party is expected to win majority control of the Senate, with half of the 76-seat upper house up for grabs.
After a national redrawing of seat boundaries, the coalition starts with a notional 73 seats (down from 74) with Labor on 72 (up from 69).
Australian Associated Press