The Opposition Leader quoted former prime minister Gough Whitlam with a pledge to “liberate the talents and uplift the horizons” of the Australian people with policies to tackle climate change, expand healthcare, spend more money on schools and subsidise childcare.
“Every time you hear the Liberals say Australia can’t afford it, what they really mean is you don’t deserve it,” Mr Shorten said at Labor’s official campaign launch in Brisbane.
The Ipsos survey shows Mr Morrison is considered better on economic policy by 57 per cent of voters compared to 39 per cent who favour Mr Shorten, a similar gap to a survey last September.
But voters have marked down both leaders on this key measure at the very time the major parties are claiming to offer stronger economic management, with Mr Morrison down nine percentage points and Mr Shorten down eight percentage points from the last survey.
The Prime Minister is considered competent by 59 per cent of voters compared to 54 per cent who back Mr Shorten on this quality.
Mr Morrison is rated as trustworthy by 44 per cent compared to 39 per cent who prefer Mr Shorten.
In a finding that plays into Labor’s campaign against the government over its leadership turmoil in recent years, 70 per cent of voters say Mr Shorten has the confidence of his party compared to only 53 per cent who say the same for the Liberal Party leader.
Mr Morrison is under pressure on his main leadership ratings, with 45 per cent of voters naming him as their preferred prime minister compared to 40 per cent for Mr Shorten – the tightest gap recorded between the two leaders.
One month ago only 35 per cent of voters considered Mr Shorten their preferred prime minister, compared to 46 per cent for Mr Morrison.
In another sign of the tightening race as the election enters its final fortnight, the Ipsos poll also found that 52 per cent of Australians expected Labor to win and 33 per cent tipped a Coalition victory, the closest result on this question in almost two decades.
The gap of 19 percentage points is much narrower than seen before the 2013 election, when the Coalition led by 69 points on the same question, and the 2007 election, when Labor led by 42 points.
Only half of those who said they planned to vote for the Coalition said they expected the Coalition to win, while 72 per cent of Labor voters said they expected Labor to win.
The percentage of voters who disapproved of Mr Morrison’s performance rose from 39 to 44 per cent over the past month, while the number approving his performance fell from 48 to 47 per cent.
Mr Shorten gained a boost on the same measures, with his approval rating rising from 36 to 40 per cent and his disapproval rating holding steady.
The survey of 1207 respondents was conducted from May 1 to 4, in the days leading up to the Labor campaign launch on Sunday, and has a margin of error of 2.8 per cent.
The tightening in the gap between the two major parties is within the margin of error but in line with other opinion polls in recent days, including Essential and Newspoll surveys putting Labor in front by 51 to 49 per cent.
The three biggest changes in the Ipsos survey, all of them outside the margin of error, were the increase in Mr Morrison’s disapproval rating, the increase in Mr Shorten’s approval rating and the increase in Mr Shorten’s standing as preferred prime minister.
The two-party result of 52 to 48 per cent is based on preference flows at the last election.
When Ipsos asked voters how they would allocate their preferences at this election, the outcome was the same in two-party terms, 52 to 48 per cent.
Ipsos found Labor had a primary vote of 33 per cent, down from 34 per cent one month ago and down from 35 per cent at the last election. The latest result is unusually low compared to other published opinion polls.
The primary vote support for the Greens rose from 13 to 14 per cent over the past month, Ipsos found. The polling firm has consistently recorded higher primary votes for the Greens compared to other published polls and the party’s 10 per cent primary vote at the last election.
The Coalition’s primary vote fell from 37 to 36 per cent over the past month.
In a sign of the difficulty in predicting the coming election result, the new survey includes Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party for the first time and shows it has a primary vote of 3 per cent.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has a primary vote of 5 per cent, unchanged from the April survey.
When allocating preferences from the United Australia Party and One Nation, Ipsos directs 53 per cent to the Coalition and 47 per cent to Labor.
David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.