Putting modern families in view. Move over contact lenses. Perhaps the first bloke did a Craig Emerson and drank them. Whatever. A modern Prime Minister now wears glasses. And modernity has broken out everywhere in Julia Gillard’s political world. Five “modern families” in yesterday’s National Press Club speech; three “modern pressures” plus the “pressure of modern life” to go with “modern, busy pressurised lives”, in a “modern nation” that has a “modern economy” with “modern medicine” in this “modern world”. In all 14 moderns and a couple of modernises.

Getting the picture. My Crikey colleague Bernard Keane was quick to note after yesterday’s speech that the PM’s speech didn’t mention the opposition or Tony Abbott at all. Not a single Liberal, National or Coalition.

How long to go is that? Take your tabloid pick.

Nothing really has changed. Unless you are one of those who thinks Julia Gillard really is an inveterate liar I don’t see how anything really changed with yesterday’s announcement. The commitment to the independents on whose support she relies to wait until September or October was definite and oft repeated. And if you thought that didn’t mean anything then why do you think there is something sacred about promising September 14?

When a leadership failure is your first choice … That Alexander Downer, a man who failed mightily in his one spell as a party leader, should be talked about with such enthusiasm as the potential saviour tells us something about the South Australian Liberal Party. They are a cranky and divided lot and have been since the retirement of Sir Thomas Playford and the abolition of his “playmander”. Surely the elite of Adelaide can do better (or should that be batter) than Alexander as a replacement for Isobel Redmond who quit the state Liberal leadership this morning.

News and views noted along the way.

Peter Fray

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