Australia heads to national polls on May 18 with two rival leaders who are not much liked and two main parties trying to appeal to a divided electorate, while the internet is giving previously unattainable visibility to minority opinions and individual candidates.
More than most, though, this is an old versus young election.
Older people in the post-1945 baby boomer generation have done very well. They got their university degrees for free, then went into long-term employment and saw salaries continuously rise. They bought their first houses at prices that later looked ridiculously cheap as asset values soared. Their pension balances have swelled through 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth.
In contrast, young Australians, like their counterparts in other Western economies, have finished their education with large student debts, face a lifetime of casual work for wages that fail to keep up with inflation, and cannot buy an urban home without parental help.
Worse, they are outnumbered by the oldies. The 18-34 cohort is 27% of the electorate, as against the 39% aged 55 and over. So the youngster have to work much harder to make their voices heard.
Scott Morrison, the prime minister and head of the center-right Liberal-Nationals coalition, opened his pitch on April 11 by claiming he stood for stability -- despite being in office only since August. He is the government's third leader in just over five years, after his colleagues sacked Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
Morrison, a tourism executive before entering politics in 2007, comes across as a fast-talking salesman, who divides opinion. The approaching election has seen many of his most liked and capable ministers, like former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, opt for retirement.
Bill Shorten, the Australian Labor Party leader and would-be prime minister, is even less popular. A former trade union leader, he behaves like an apparatchik and is an uninspiring public performer. However, his party has been leading the polls for more than a year, and Shorten has an array of talented and popular frontbenchers alongside him.
The last election in 2016 gave the Coalition a majority of one. Recent defections have left it reliant on independents. If Labor maintains its poll lead, it will win a clear majority. But Australia's preferential voting system leaves open the possibility of surprises.
The truth is that neither of these two middle-aged men appeals much to young voters. But Labor is doing what it can to win their votes by promising action on wages and housing prices, and standing with the young on issues like climate change and gender equality.
Shorten's shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, is trying to tackle the intergenerational income gap by promising to curtail the tax benefits for wealthier people who acquire buy-to-let homes, claim losses against other income, and enjoy tax breaks on capital gains from property sales.
Morrison and his treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, claim this is dangerous meddling with a formula that has helped deliver prosperity and assured comfortable retirements for older Australians.
Frydenberg has proclaimed that Australia is "back in the black" after years of working to reverse budget deficits left by Labor. In fact, his projected surplus is for the fiscal year starting in July, and it is wafer-thin. But the belief that Liberal-Nationals are better economic managers is deep-seated.
There is a generational element to the climate change debate too, with younger Australians generally greener than their elders. In November and March, thousands left classrooms to join worldwide children's protests. Morrison's response was: "What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools."
Morrison's coalition is divided between those who would like to follow U.S. President Donald Trump in exiting the Paris climate accord and boost fossil fuel use, and those who realize that many Australians, especially younger people, are worried by the unusual onset of bush fires, floods and cyclones, and wonder what kind of world their children will face.
The government has allocated extra funds to efforts to save the Great Barrier Reef from rising sea temperatures and pollution. But just before dissolving parliament, ministers gave environmental approval to a massive coal mine planned in Queensland by India's Adani group, implicitly challenging Labor not to stand in the way.
While ambivalent on new coal mines, Shorten has gone big for renewables, and electric-powered vehicles.
Morrison said this was a "war on the weekend" by taking away sport utility vehicles from ordinary families. Again this puts Morrison on the side of the old and Labor with the young -- many young people in urban Australia have abandoned car ownership, relying on ride-sharing and public transport.
But one baleful election issue, pitting older conservatives against more open-minded young people may not be so prominent this time.
The Coalition won three previous elections by evoking an alleged threat from asylum-seekers arriving by boat from Indonesia. Labor reluctantly adopted a bipartisan position by supporting the shifting of the refugees to detention camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.
This time political leaders have calmed down the rhetoric on immigration following the massacre of 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, allegedly by a white supremacist from Australia. Morrison hurriedly scaled back his persistent demonization of the mostly Muslim refugees. The government has also backtracked on plans to build a hospital for sick refugees from Nauru and Manus on the Australian territory of Christmas Island to block them coming to the mainland for treatment.
However, surveys show Australians across all age groups have grown more concerned about the impact of a high immigration rate on employment and wages. Almost all remain positive about the multiculturalism pursued since the White Australia policy was abandoned half a century ago, the young more enthusiastic than the old.
Both parties are trying to address the economic aspects -- Morrison by announcing a small cut in the annual permanent migration quota, Labor by pledging stricter requirements for employers to advertise jobs locally before seeking foreign staff. At the margin, the government approach appeals more to older voters, Labor's may be more relevant to job-seekers, who tend to be young.
A lot will depend on whether middle-aged Australians will stand with the young or join the oldies in protecting their own well-feathered nests.
Taken together, Labor seems to be offering the young a bit more than the Coalition. But its cautious tactics are not the stuff that will lead younger voters to expect real change. If young Australians remain disillusioned with their political leaders, they have good reason to be.
Hamish McDonald is a Sydney-based author and a former foreign editor of the Sydney Morning Herald