A Labor party with an unpopular leader promising its most progressive policy agenda in years versus a Coalition defending the status quo but reeling from a bloody leadership coup and with an image problem when it comes to women and climate change.
That is the scenario as Australia sits down this evening to find out who will form government for the next three years.
An ABC survey last month showed the environment (29%) was the main concern of voters, up by 20% in three years, followed by the economy (23%), health care and superannuation (both 8%).
But, for many in the Labor party, tonight's vote count will be a referendum on their plans to raise more tax revenue in return for better services.
Newcastle Labor MP Sharon Claydon told me this morning that Bob Hawke's passing this week was a reminder of the "social contract" he forged with the voting public: wage cuts and limitations on union power in return for better services and welfare.
Hawke took on the challenge of a chaotic industrial relations landscape and high unemployment with a bold and complex series of negotiations between unions, employers and voters.
Bill Shorten's agenda is nowhere near as radical.
His plan to change negative gearing and franking credits and redirect the booty into health and childcare is far less progressive than left-wing movements in America and Britain. Jeremy Corbyn is promising to renationalise the energy network in Britain. Across the Atlantic, Bernie Sanders is suggesting a top marginal tax rate of 52%.
Nevertheless, Claydon argues that, although many Australians have prospered through three decades of trickle-down economics, some have been left behind.
This is the political force that contributed to Brexit and Trump.
Will it sweep Labor into power or consign it to another three years of opposition?
Shorten has run a campaign based on policy (though without clear costings), while Scott Morrison has rarely wavered from his "Don't vote Labor!" message.
In the Hunter, few are predicting anything but a Labor redwash in the four main electorates, while the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce (New England) and David Gillespie (Lyne) are both holding double-figure margins on the region's fringes..
A report in today's Sydney Morning Herald suggested Meryl Swanson's Paterson seat was under threat and that Labor had dispatched resources to help "save it".
This was news to Swanson, who told me today that she hadn't spotted busloads of Young Laborite volunteers pouring north to help shore up her 10.7% margin.
Elsewhere, Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon (Hunter) and Pat Conroy (Shortland) should have little trouble holding off Coalition challengers.
Former state Liberal MP for Port Stephens Craig Baumann says the boundary distributions in the Hunter make it almost impossible to turn them blue, but he'll be watching with interest to see how preferences flow from One Nation and Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.