The new look Julia (wiser and softer) with her McTernan recommended glasses has announced the election date as 14 September. She hasn't been to the GG so no writs have been issued..... it's only words at this stage. In entirely unrelated news Craig Thomson has been arrested and is looking at 150 fraud charges. Well, I think it's unrelated - or is it? Slipper next and then what does Gillard do? Running out of options. There was talk this morning that by announcing an election date she could avoid a by-election in case Thomson or Slipper were charged but as I read it the no by-election clause is only relevant after the writs for an election have been called. Considering the politics of the Thomson fraud case I can only imagine the police would be extra extra careful that they had cast iron evidence before cuffing him. How embarrassing for the country. Whatever Gillard's aim is the press will be all over Thomson for a day or two. The ALP are ramping up their demand that Abbott should release his policies now so they can find or create mistakes. Remember attacking Abbott is their only tactic as they can't campaign on achievements. Abbott, of course has no intention of playing the ALP game and will release policies and costing after the budget is released - at a time and place decided by Coalition tactics, not Gillards Standard procedure.