AND so the election campaign begins, but is anyone really listening?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten were in full election mode on the weekend, surrounded by their families, after May 18 was finally announced as federal polling day.
Half the campaign, in NSW at least, will coincide with school holidays and run only a few short weeks after a largely underwhelming state election campaign that returned the incumbent.
The federal poll will also cut across national breaks to celebrate Easter and mark Anzac Day, when Australians are unlikely to be impressed with too much politics.
Even one of the big sect pieces of the political year, the release of the Budget, came and went in a blur of big promises a long way in the future and a Budget Reply that highlighted the perceived Labor strengths of health and education. Both Morrison Budget and Shorten Budget Reply were well received, but they failed to register much interest even 24 hours after they were delivered.
This is the election campaign we have to have but polls are consistently showing Australian voters aren't budging from their views on which party will likely form government in about four weeks' time.
The Coalition can't seem to shift from about 48 per cent support while Labor has sat at roughly 52 per cent for a long time.
Scott Morrison took up the top job at one of the lowest of low points for his side of politics at federal level. The party that barely recovered from the Tony Abbott prime ministership and ousting turned on the man who replaced him, Malcolm Turnbull, in an own goal that didn't shock Australians so much as disgust them. The Coalition hasn't recovered.
But it's not disunity, as such, that voters are angered by. It is that the disunity is intractable and there's no end in sight, particularly on how the Coalition deals with climate change and the transition to a future with more renewable energy. A government that can't deliver a national energy policy after so many years shouldn't be rewarded with more time to fail at it, is the message.
Scott Morrison has four weeks to demonstrate he can lead a government with a party that seems to be fracturing over its core beliefs. But voters might already have made up their minds.